Rule of law
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Learners at Nova Training, in Dereham, have been looking into strange laws around the world. It is always fun to find out about laws that have slipped through the cracks as time has marched on. Take a look at the work produced by one such learner. Did you know that it is illegal to handle salmon is suspicious circumstances? Here are a few more crazy laws from the UK and beyond.


In the UK, it is Illegal to be Drunk in Charge of a Cow

Obviously, having cows wandering about while the owner is intoxicated is problematic. That’s why, according to, in 1872, a law was passed banning people from being drunk in charge of a variety of things. More specifically, the ban was for on highways and public streets and included such things as steam engines and firearms. It doesn’t seem so crazy now. In Rome, you can’t have a pet goldfish. While this law seems bizarre, it is all about animal cruelty. The Italians suggested that small bowls, the kind that goldfish are often kept in, do not provide enough oxygen for fish and that if they were kept in one, it would lead to premature death. They also passed a law that forbid goldfish from being sold as carnival prizes.

It is Illegal to Have a Pigsty in Front of your House

PiggiesCredit: says that this is an offence under section 60 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839, and while it might seem a bit odd, it is linked with other cleanliness and public order laws. For the benefit of neighbours, things like keeping a pigsty, slaughtering cattle in the street, and singing profane or obscene songs or ballads were outlawed and the laws are still in effect. Would you like your neighbour to be slaughtering cattle in his front garden?

It is Illegal to Eat Swans Unless you are the Queen


The Queen isn’t in the habit of killing and eating swans, and even if she was, only certain swans, in certain locations, are hers. According to, the Wild Creatures and Forest Law Act (1971) says that swans are protected from being hunted, having their wings clipped, and from having their eggs stolen. This is a protection designed to safeguard their numbers. Has the Queen actually ever exercised her right to eat a swan? Who knows? Sturgeons, porpoises, whales, and dolphins are known as 'fishes royal'. She probably hasn’t eaten any of these either.

It is Illegal to Hang a Washing Line Across Any Street

Washing lineCredit:

This is another example of listing interesting occurrences. This law relates to the pigsty law in that it was introduced to aid with keeping communities clean and tidy. Aside from the potential risk to through traffic, folk did not want to see other people’s laundry draped across the street. As more people joined large conurbations, society demanded more laws to make sure they could all live harmoniously. Other such laws include wilfully and wantonly disturbing people by ringing their door bells or knocking at their doors and carrying a plank along a pavement.

It is Illegal to Handle Salmon in Suspicious Circumstances

SalmonCredit: says that, under the Salmon Act of 1986, if the authorities believe that you have been involved in poaching, or that the salmon you have in your possession may have been sourced through poaching, you may be in breach of the law. This law was passed to reduce the amount of salmon poaching and carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment.

So there you have it. There are some crazy laws out there that actually have a little bit of sense behind them. That doesn't stop them sounding ridiculous though. What other crazy laws have you heard about? Share them in the comments.