This week sees the implementation of a truly bizarre anti-farting law in the south-eastern African country of Malawi. The Local Courts Bill states that:
Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.
So it seems that if you break wind in public, you could have the action taken against you by the police. Or, in other words, you could feel the full force of the law if those around you feel your full force. This ill-advised law flies in the face of medical advice because, as everybody knows, if you hold in farts then your heart will explode. And that’s a medically proven fact. Probably.
This unpopular law has drawn criticism from the Malawian Bean Growers Ass. who argue that it represents a threat to their profits. A spokesman was quoted as saying: “We had managed to weather the financial storm and had hoped that this year would see a wind of change. But this unfair new law could really see the bottom drop out of the market for us.”
There could however be a hitch in enforcement, with problems in defining what should be classed as a fart yet to be overcome. A prominent lawmaker claimed that: “Just like it is clear that ladies don’t sweat, they glow, and men perspire – it’s only horses that sweat – so too must we define what constitutes a fart that is actually deemed as an offence. It is quite likely that most ladies will be exempt from this new ruling as we will probably use a three grade classification: cows fart, men break wind, and ladies sigh. Although there may well be some exceptions to the rule which will be measured on level of intensity and dealt with on an individual basis. Serial farters may face bans on certain foods, holding their breath and laughing too hard in public, just to be cautious.”
Problems also arise with how police investigate any farting offences. As quick response times will clearly be vital, it is rumoured that mobile enforcement units will be deployed in city centres to aid investigation of incidents. These fart squads will be armed with carbon monoxide monitors and oxygen tanks, but they are likely to favour the ‘whoever-dealt-it-smelt-it’ approach to identifying suspects.
Whoopee Cushions are also likely to be outlawed to avoid miscarriages of justice. As yet there are no plans to challenge cattle farmers over their livestock’s flatulence, as there are concerns that this would deprive grandmothers of proclaiming their pleasure at smelling the ‘fresh country air’ whilst out in the countryside with their families.
Friends of the Earth are said to be delighted, as the new law will undoubtedly help Malawi to achieve a cut in carbon emissions. “A few exploding hearts here and there are a small price to pay for saving the planet” a spokesman said on hearing the news. However, public opinion is largely against the law, which could lead to an uprising, quite literally, if the expected appeal does not come up smelling of roses.