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  #1  
Old 10 April 2009, 02:33 AM
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Pig French laws for naming livestock

Comment: There's a persisting rumor saying that there is a French law
prohibiting people to call their pig "Napoleon" (a variant says the same
about "Jean-Pierre" or "Jean-Marie"). It can even be found on some sites
for French lawyers (such as:
http://www.village-justice.com/forum...ic.php?t=12102
at least according to
http://www.avocats.fr/space/creisson...A8A/html-print).

Nobody ever cited source, and those who searched a bit claim they didn't
find it, but nobody seems to have searched through jurisprudence nor
anecdotes.
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  #2  
Old 16 April 2009, 06:01 PM
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Sounds like a joke. Probably based on Animal Farm, since there is a pig named Napoleon there. I sincerely doubt that it is a real law, or if it is, that it is actually enforced at all.
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  #3  
Old 16 April 2009, 06:11 PM
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If true though, wouldn't it be more likely to relate to the Emperor Napoleon and not slighting him rather than a reference to Animal Farm?
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  #4  
Old 16 April 2009, 09:00 PM
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Not definitive, but the Times Online also lists this as "fact":

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/to...cle2251280.ece

It also appears to come up in many references to the book "Animal Farm" not being able to use the name Napoleon in the French version:

Quote:
Napoleon is a fictional character in George Orwell's "Animal Farm". In the French version of the book, he was renamed César (Caesar). (French law prohibits naming a pig "Napoleon")
There's other sites that bring up "silly laws" and many list this. Google using the terms "naming french pig napoleon" and you'll see a bunch of examples.
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  #5  
Old 16 April 2009, 09:07 PM
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Hmmm. I thought this was going to be about the Academie Francais' rules for common names for TYPES of livestock.

Do people give names to the farm animals? Doesn't that make it difficult to, umm, you know, "food" them? I'm a vegetarian, so I wouldn't know.
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  #6  
Old 16 April 2009, 09:13 PM
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The top respondent to the same query posted on yahoo.fr finds no reference to such a law in the Code Napoleon or legal reference texts.

I did however find another question posted to yahoo.fr where the questioner clains that his friend "in the Ardennes" having some grief from the local Socialist maire after having named his lustful buck rabbit "Francois" (and the does "Mitterande" and "Pingeotte"):

Quote:
Le maire lui fait maintenant envoyer du papier timbré et menace de le traîner en justice pour offense au chef de l'Etat.
Basically he is being threatened with action for "offense au chef de l'Etat", which I gather is roughly "insulting someone in public office". Wikipedia has a page on the relevant law, bu my French isn't good enough to do a detailed reading. My understanding is that the law applies to the serving president of the Republic, and the advice given to the questioner on yahoo is that the maire is therefore talking through his hat.

However, no-one discounts the possibility that naming a randy rabbit after Nicolas Sarkozy could breach the law...
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  #7  
Old 17 April 2009, 01:51 AM
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Pig

Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Do people give names to the farm animals?
And if they do, how does the French government figure out their names?
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  #8  
Old 23 April 2009, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Chevalier Blanc View Post
...

It also appears to come up in many references to the book "Animal Farm" not being able to use the name Napoleon in the French version.
The book's page on Amazon.fr refers to "Snowball et Napoleon, cochons en chef". There isn't a "search inside" enabled, but I assume the actual text keeps the name "Napoleon" as well.
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  #9  
Old 23 April 2009, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Embra View Post
Basically he is being threatened with action for "offense au chef de l'Etat", which I gather is roughly "insulting someone in public office". Wikipedia has a page on the relevant law, bu my French isn't good enough to do a detailed reading. My understanding is that the law applies to the serving president of the Republic, and the advice given to the questioner on yahoo is that the maire is therefore talking through his hat...
More accurately: Offending the Head of State. As you see, it's a law that dates back to 1881 (and is widely citicized as reeking of Ancien Régime). Basically, it's meant to protect the serving president's dignity or private life from direct insults or printed libel - but it's the president's decision to use it or not.

According to the article, De Gaulle (who had a very high opinion of both himself and his function) used it 500 times, Pompidou only once, Giscard, Mitterand and Chirac never (they refused to make any use of this law).

Anyway, in a country where satirizing the Powers that Be is a national sport, any politician taking himself too seriously makes himself a laughing stock, as seen in the case of Sarkozy who sued a guy who refused to shake his hand at the Agriculture Fair in Paris ("don't touch me - you'll make me dirty!", the man said, whereupon Sarkozy shouted to him "casse-toi, pauvre con!" - **** off, poor dick! in his usual, elegant style).

Lastly, it's a known fact in France that when a politician doesn't get satirized in the press or on TV, he starts worrying about this lack of attention, which could mean that his carreer is coming to an end - some even do complain.


... as for that Napoleon&livestock law, it's reversely proportional to the Emperor's size, I'd say. In short: tall story.

Last edited by Cyrano; 23 April 2009 at 12:43 PM.
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  #10  
Old 24 April 2009, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Embra View Post
The book's page on Amazon.fr refers to "Snowball et Napoleon, cochons en chef". There isn't a "search inside" enabled, but I assume the actual text keeps the name "Napoleon" as well.
Here are two links to the complete text in French.

http://www.wikilivres.info/wiki/La_Ferme_des_animaux

http://www.ebooksgratuits.com/pdf/or...es_animaux.pdf

In all other French references I found, the Pig-In-Chief is called Napoléon (funnily, the Wikipedia article says: the pig's name is the same in the original English version. No "Caesar" in sight.

Case closed, I guess.
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Old 28 April 2009, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Do people give names to the farm animals? Doesn't that make it difficult to, umm, you know, "food" them? I'm a vegetarian, so I wouldn't know.
And just to clear up the only other point raised (since my French is far from good enough to read most of the links and I'm half asleep, anyway, so my comprehension is limited in the first place):

Yup. My family raises beef cattle and swine, and me and my cousins always named the animals. It started out making it more difficult when the cows got butchered, but I got used to it rather quickly. I've had Fat Charlie, Dahlia, Petunia, Merry, Pippin, Arnie, Sheena, Geri--I've just had a lot of cows. All named!
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Old 28 April 2009, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Do people give names to the farm animals? Doesn't that make it difficult to, umm, you know, "food" them? I'm a vegetarian, so I wouldn't know.
I had a friend whose family raised animals for meat, and they were known to sit around the table saying things like "Buttercup sure is tender." So, no, apparently it doesn't.
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Old 28 April 2009, 08:42 PM
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I know someone who named her pig "Porkchop". I thought it rather cruel to the pig, but to date she has not eaten him or her (not sure what gender the pig is).
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  #14  
Old 29 April 2009, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maque View Post
And just to clear up the only other point raised (since my French is far from good enough to read most of the links and I'm half asleep, anyway, so my comprehension is limited in the first place):

Yup. My family raises beef cattle and swine, and me and my cousins always named the animals. It started out making it more difficult when the cows got butchered, but I got used to it rather quickly. I've had Fat Charlie, Dahlia, Petunia, Merry, Pippin, Arnie, Sheena, Geri--I've just had a lot of cows. All named!
No problem with your French, Maque - I just thought the full translation would be the ultimate evidence (and quick browsing through the text until you see "Napoleon" a few times is enough , BTW - I confess I was in a hurry and I did the same )

As for naming farm animals: at least in Switzerland, all cows and horses have a name (firstly because the farmers have a strong emotional tie to them, and secondly because it makes things easier to keep record of the bloodlines for breeding purposes).
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Old 29 April 2009, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrano View Post
More accurately: Offending the Head of State. As you see, it's a law that dates back to 1881 (and is widely citicized as reeking of Ancien Régime). Basically, it's meant to protect the serving president's dignity or private life from direct insults or printed libel - but it's the president's decision to use it or not.
Am I right in reading the Wikipedia article as saying that the crime of offending the head of state is the only remaining limb of this law though? It looks to me like there used to be additional offences of offending heads of state of other nations, and "outraging" foreign ambassadors or diplomats.
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  #16  
Old 29 April 2009, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photo Bob View Post
I know someone who named her pig "Porkchop". I thought it rather cruel to the pig, but to date she has not eaten him or her (not sure what gender the pig is).
When we purchased our acreage I had in mind getting a couple piglets and naming them Porkchop and Porkroast, as a reminder to myself as to their purpose. Thankfully I got the chickens first and found I couldn't even eat a chicken I'd raised (my cousin reports they made the best chicken and dumplings she ever had), saving myself lots of money and grief. I had to give away 15 frozen chickens. I can't even imagine if I'd had pigs slaughtered only to find I couldn't eat the meat. Though, knowing how I feel about pigs, I probably would never get to the point of slaughter and I'd be tossing money at pigs until they reached a ripe old age. Pork, though, is my favorite meat.

My mother was raised on a farm and told me she and her siblings named everything. I recall my grandmother referred to a particular rooster as Old Blue. Though, Old Blue was not for eating. He was for breeding. Now that I think on it, my grandma and grandpa only named things that weren't eaten. The dog, cats, milk cows, horses, and of course, Old Blue, are the only animals I remember them calling by name, none of the hogs or other chickens.

Now I'm flooded by the most wonderful childhood memories. Sorry to go so off-topic.

Last edited by tagurit; 29 April 2009 at 02:31 PM.
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