Bizarre Animal Laws That Exist Around the World

Understanding of animal sentience has grown, so too has the need for laws to protect animals from cruelty and exploitation.

In many countries, animal law is still in its infancy. But in some places, it’s been around for centuries. EM law has compiled a list of some of the most unusual UK laws to have ever existed, some of which contain laws about animals.

Let’s see how some of those UK laws compare with some of the animal laws from around the world.

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United Kingdom

You can’t walk cows down the street

Technically, you can, but only if you had permission from the police commissioner. Under the Metropolitan Streets Act of 1867, it’s an offence to “drive or carry any cattle, sheep, swine, or other beast of burden through any street” between 10 am to 7 pm.

Beached whales or sturgeons – it belongs to the crown

If you come across a beached whale or sturgeon, don’t think about claiming it as your own – it actually belongs to the reigning monarch.

This law dates back to the 14th century when Edward II declared that the head and spermaceti of a whale washed ashore belonged to the king, while the carcass belonged to the finder.

It’s still illegal to kill a swan

The Queen owns all unmarked mute swans in open waters. And the Mute Swan is the national bird of the UK, and it’s also protected by law.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, it’s illegal to injure or kill a swan. The penalty for doing so can be up to six months in jail as well as paying hefty fines.


It is illegal to one just one guinea pig in Switzerland

According to Swiss law, guinea pigs must be kept in pairs. The thinking behind this law is that guinea pigs are social animals and need companionship to stay healthy and happy.

You can be fined for not walking your dog in Italy

In Turin, dog owners are required to take their dogs for a walk at least three times a day. If they don’t, they can be fined up to 500 euros.

Asia & Australia

Naming an animal means keeping them in Australia

If you give an animal a name in Australia, you’re effectively claiming ownership of that animal. So if you name a stray cat or dog, you’re responsible for taking care of them. However, this law doesn’t apply to animals that are intended for consumption.

Your cats can’t leave the house without three bells in New Zealand

In Longburn, New Zealand, it’s against the law for a cat to leave the house without three bells attached to its collar.


There are some weird and wonderful laws concerning animals all over the world. Some of these laws are designed to protect the animals, while others are designed to protect the public from the animals.

Whatever the reason behind the law, it’s always important to be aware of the laws in your own country and city before you get a pet.

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