4 Bizarre Things That Are Illegal Outside the U.S.

There are countries that have some unbelievable laws in place, whether at the state/provincial or federal levels. The following are some that are pretty amusing, but most probably make sense in the context of that country's culture and history. Let's all, of course, keep in mind also that the term "bizarre" is subjective — what one person might find strange may be normal to someone else. With this disclaimer in mind, go ahead and have a chuckle.

1. France: No pig may be called Napoleon by its owner.

One of my professors from a core class in college told us about his trip to France after he had graduated college. He was staying in a small boarding house run by a very patriotic French woman. She was praising Napoleon to him, and he said, "But he was so short!" in jest. True, it wasn't the most mature thing to say, but he thought it would've been funny. 

She turned him away for the night. This gives us an idea of how highly Napoleon was, and still is, revered in France. Even in the book Animal Farm by George Orwell, there was uproar that one of the main characters, a pig, was named Napoleon. In French versions of the book, he is named Caesar instead. 

2. Israel: No nose picking on the Sabbath.

But why? Shouldn't nose picking be illegal all days of the week?

All jokes aside, there is actually a religious reason behind this one. It is believed that the potential bleeding that results from losing nasal hair may violate the religious code of sanctity. This law only applies to those who practice the Jewish faith in Israel, exempting secular Jews and Gentiles.

3. Singapore: It is against the law to use a public toilet and not flush.

This actually might force people into good hygiene, but in Singapore, it's no joke. You might be fined or publicly caned for not flushing the toilet after using it. In fact, law enforcement regularly performs random bathroom checks in public places all the time. 

4. India: Using ultrasound to figure out the sex of a fetus is illegal.

As an Indian American, I don't find this one strange or weird, just sad. But for many, this can be interpreted as weird. This law gained more notoriety when Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan — think of him as on the same level as Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, and other attractive big names in Hollywood — and his wife were reported to be expecting a son via a surrogate, and Indian law enforcement were outraged. The reason for this law is the tragic fact that sex-selective abortion is a common practice in hospitals in India and China alike.

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Anjana Sreedhar

Anjana is a passionate NYU student studying International Relations and Gender and Sexuality. She is also a PolicyMic writing intern who enjoys following the news and hopes to work in international development, particularly improving reproductive health of women and girls. When not studying, working, or researching, you'll find her editing for the NYU Journal of Politics and International Affairs, writing for NYU Generasian and Washington Square News, or watching Downton Abbey with a cup of masala chai.

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