Did you know it's illegal in France to name a pig Napoleon? Or that in Ohio you're not allowed to get a fish drunk? Alex Wade celebrates the spirit of the silly season with a list of the world's most ridiculous laws
August 15, 2007
25. It is illegal for a cab in the City of London to carry rabid dogs or corpses.
24. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.
23. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside down.
22. In France, it is forbidden to call a pig Napoleon.
21. Under the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006, it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, though you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing.
20. In Alabama, it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle.
19. In Ohio, it is against state law to get a fish drunk.
18. Royal Navy ships that enter the Port of London must provide a barrel of rum to the Constable of the Tower of London.
17. In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants – even, if she so requests, in a policeman’s helmet.
16. In Lancashire, no person is permitted after being asked to stop by a constable on the seashore to incite a dog to bark.
15. In Miami, Florida, it is illegal to skateboard in a police station.
14. In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation.
13. In England, all men over the age of 14 must carry out two hours of longbow practice a day.
12. In London, Freemen are allowed to take a flock of sheep across London Bridge without being charged a toll; they are also allowed to drive geese down Cheapside.
11. In San Salvador, drunk drivers can be punished by death before a firing squad.
10. In the UK, a man who feels compelled to urinate in public can do so only if he aims for his rear wheel and keeps his right hand on his vehicle.
9. In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on Sundays can be jailed.
8. In Kentucky, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon more than six-feet long.
7. In Chester, Welshmen are banned from entering the city before sunrise and from staying after sunset.
6. In the city of York, it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow.
5. In Boulder, Colorado, it is illegal to kill a bird within the city limits and also to “own” a pet – the town’s citizens, legally speaking, are merely “pet minders”.
4. In Vermont, women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.
3. In London, it is illegal to flag down a taxi if you have the plague.
2. In Bahrain, a male doctor may legally examine a woman’s genitals but is forbidden from looking directly at them during the examination; he may only see their reflection in a mirror.
1. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast is legally the property of the King; the tail, on the other hand, belongs to the Queen - in case she needs the bones for her corset.
With thanks to: Donald Stewart at Faegre & Benson; John Barnett at Burges Salmon; Robert Crossley at Walker Morris; James Odds at Matthew Arnold & Baldwin; and Dan Kieran, author of I Fought The Law (Bantam Press).