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Farmer hit by complaint about cows blocking road

A farmer in Haute-Savoie has been visited by the local police after a neighbour filed a complaint about his cows ‘blocking the public highway’ as he moves them for milking

Julien Chatelein, who farms in Vailly, Haute-Savoie, said on Facebook that he uses the road twice a day to move the cows from the fields to be milked.

"How many of us have to stand in front of tribunals before the government grasps that it needs to defend food producers over city people who still don’t understand that they only eat due to our work?" he asked.

The farm’s 12 cows are moved a few hundred metres each morning and evening between their field and the milking machines.

A supporter, Nicolas Bevillard, has set up a petition on calling for the mayor of Vailly to dismiss the complaint. As the petition approached 50,000 signatures, Mr Bevillard reported that the mayor had emailed to say the commune supports the Chatelein family.

Last month a group of 20 holiday home owners who complained about cowbells in an Alpine village had their plea rejected by the mairie after more than 110,000 signed a counter-petition.

The group, mostly British, wrote to Le Biot mayor Henri-Victor Tournier saying they understood they "lived in the country where there was a long tradition of cows, sheep and goats" but the constant noise of the bells on the pastures day and night was "unbearable".

However, it sparked a protest by about 400 cowbell-clanging people near the visitors’ houses, calling to save Haute-Savoie heritage and saying the hills would be a "no man’s land" of thorns and fern without cows. The complaint was rejected, but the cows' drinking trough was moved.

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