This farmer has been told he must pay his neighbours 8,000 EUR after they claimed his cows were “too smelly.”
On top of that, he has had to fork out 130,000 EUR (111,230 GBP) to build a new building to house his cows, some 500 metres (1,640 feet) away from the original building.
The incident took place in the Cantal department in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region of central France and has made national headlines.
According to local media, a retired couple, who have not been named but who are the neighbours of farmer Nicolas Bardy, filed a complaint a decade ago because they claimed his cows were too smelly. Now a judge has ruled on appeal that he is guilty.
The couple reportedly arrived in the village in 2001 and came from the city of Saint-Etienne in the Loire department.
Bardy told local media: “Making hay, stocking up and getting ready to feed the animals throughout winter, this is the normal life of a farmer in the Cantal. We are not doing anything out of the usual.”
He added: “It took them a while but they got there, they have managed to make us move. And on top of that now I have to pay 8,000 EUR for the smell.”
Solange Bardy, Nicolas’ mother, said: “Have you ever seen someone in a city file a complaint against a neighbour because their car pollutes?”
Mr Bardy’s family have been running their cattle farm since 1870. Local media report there have been six generations of farmers in the family but this is the first time there are no longer any cows in the main building.
Locals are up in arms over the matter, with the vast majority apparently coming out in support of Mr Bardy.
Stephanie Fourcat, who has started an online crowdfunding campaign to support her neighbour, told local media: “I am worried. I am wondering what we are going to be eating tomorrow. If we no longer have any farmers and if they cannot work anymore…”
Other villagers are also up in arms over the incident, with neighbour Emile Bruel telling reporters: “Everyone used to get along so well in the village. And since then, it is a catastrophe.”
Emile’s wife Ginette Bruel astutely pointed out: “There have always been smells. A farm is a farm, eh?”
Farmer Nicolas said: “This is stupidity pushed to the maximum.” But he has reportedly accepted the decision, after fighting for 10 years.
Nicolas, after spending a decade defending himself, is now worried about one thing above all else: that other farmers will find themselves in the same situation.
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Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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