A FARMER has been ordered to pay €6,000 in damages to neighbours after a five-year court battle because of the stink of his cows and the hordes of flies that invaded their house.
The man, who farmed at Saint-Vincent Lamontjoie in Lot-et-Garonne, was told to move his cows at least 100m from the couple's house within three months - or risk a fine of €50 for each day of delay.
The verdict is the end of more than five years of trouble for the couple as the farmer had originally been ordered to move his cattle in 2007 by a municipal warrant. He was then found guilty of causing a nuisance in 2011.
Now an appeal court in Agen has upheld the sentence and ordered he move the cattle.
The neighbours' lawyer said the couple "could not even leave their house - it was invaded by flies and overpowering smells". He added it was just an act of "gross ill will" as the farmer had a "gigantic" farm and he could easily have placed the water troughs away from the neighbours.
A huissier bailiff reported that straw bales and feed were less than 100m from the neighbours' house and two water troughs were just 10m from their terrace - with "a sickening smell from cow dung".
The local farming union FDSEA feared the verdict would give other rural residents the same idea, "creating big problems for us in doing our jobs".
Departmental president Jean-Luc Poli hit out, saying: "These neo-rurals should understand that when one moves to the countryside the no longer have the disturbances of the town such as scooter noise, but there are other restrictions. Tractors make noise, a watering system too - and animals in a field can cause inconvenience."
However, the couple said they were very keen on farming and the countryside, but they heavily criticised the farmer's hygiene and care of the cattle.
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