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Published on September 22, 2020 by isabellaford

Globally, laws range from the weird and wonderful to the downright peculiar. In this blog,  I am going to countdown some of the weirdest laws around the world.

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1. Parliaments famous Salmon Act of 1986 states that it’s illegal to hold salmon under suspicious circumstances

Section 32 of the Salmon Act 1986 stipulates that it is an offence to handle salmon under suspicious circumstances.  

This section creates an offence in England and Wales for any person who receives or disposes of any salmon in circumstances where they believe or could reasonably believe that the salmon has been illegally fished. The maximum penalty is two years imprisonment.

The context may well make the law less weird, but even so, suspiciously holding salmon is a pretty funny offence to be arrested for.

2. If you own any chickens in Quitman, Georgia, it is illegal to let them cross the road

Simply put, the law essentially wants owners to have their chickens under control at all times. This makes sense when you imagine the danger of letting farm animals run about, but the specificity of the law about not allowing chickens to cross the road rings true to the joke and makes for a funny read.

Georgia likes to ensure the safety and sacredness of their chicken as in Gainesville Georgia, you have to eat fried chicken with your bare hands. Keep your forks away from them. The law describes chicken as a “culinary delicacy sacred to its municipality.” Perhaps this is why chicken deserves a specific transport safety law.

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3. Australia’s second most populated state says it illegal to change a light bulb unless you are a licensed electrician

Under Victorian law, changing a light bulb without a valid license to do so was against the law. Taking your light into your own hands brought a fine of 10 Australian dollars.  

However, a revision to the 1998 Electricity Safety Act updated this law. A spokeswoman for Energy Safe Victoria said that, “While the Electricity Safety Act makes it illegal to do your own electrical work if you are not licensed, changing a light bulb and removing a plug from a socket were specifically exempted from this requirement under Order in Council G17.”

4. Milan in Italy states that it is a legal requirement to smile at all times except at funerals or hospitals

What’s with the long face? In Milan, the law compels you to smile. It is prescribed by a city regulation from Austro-Hungarian times that was never repealed.

Exemptions included funeral goers, hospital workers or those at the bedside of an ill family member. For everybody else there is no excuse for being glum, the alternative being a fine. This has got to be one of the weirdest laws of all.

5. In Florida, it is illegal to pass wind in a public place after 6pm on Thursdays

There is some debate over this one. It certainly is a forgotten law and has never really been enforced in Florida.

It was probably written in the 1800’s and forgotten since. It is not clear why this ever became a law, or a rumoured law in the first place.

What’s your favourite law-related film or TV show? Want to know how closely they resemble real life? Have a read of these:

6. It is against the law to have a sleeping donkey in your bathtub after 7 pm

In Arizona, this law was brought into effect due to a public menace case in 1924. A merchant used to allow his donkey to sleep in a bathtub. The town was flooded when a local dam broke and the donkey, was washed a mile down the valley. The donkey survived, but locals spent a lot of time and manpower to save the animal. This law was passed shortly after.

7. It is against the law not to walk your dog at least three times a day in Turin, Italy

Dog owners in Turin, Italy will be fined up to 500 euros if they don’t walk their pets at least three times a day, under a new law from the city’s council. Italy considers itself an animal-loving nation and in many cities stray cats and protected by law.

To enforce the law, Turin police would rely largely on the help of tipsters spotting cruel treatment by neighbours. Turin has the most stringent animal protection rules in the country. They even ban fairgrounds from giving away goldfish in bags.

8. In Scotland, if someone knocks on your door and requires the use of your toilet, you must let them enter

Yes, this means that by law if you need the toilet you can suggest it is illegal for them to deny you the use of their toilet.

However, this law is questionable as how can we suggest people should let just anyone into their home? This law has made many lists of the most absurd laws, but I could not find any context behind this peculiar law.

9. In Samoa, it is illegal to forget your wife’s birthday

You will get more than the silent treatment from your wife if you forget her birthday in Samoa. It is unclear how long your sentence would be, but maybe some time apart for you to think about how to make it up to her wouldn’t be too bad.

10. The French town of Sarpourenx makes it a legal requirement to have bought a burial plot before dying

Some issues were had in this French town with people wantonly dying and then expecting to be buried. The mayor issued an edict forbidding people from dying within the city limits unless they had previously purchased a plot in a local cemetery. People who die anyway will be severely punished. What kind of punishment you give the dead however is as of yet unclear.

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