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Swiss farmer ordered to end cow bell clamour
Culture & Life

Swiss farmer ordered to end cow bell clamour

13.08.2015 From our online archive
Bells clanging around the necks of dairy cows grazing lazily on an emerald green meadow may sound idyllic, but if you live next door, it can be a noisy nuisance.

(AFP) Bells clanging around the necks of dairy cows grazing lazily on an emerald green meadow may sound idyllic, but if you live next door, it can be a noisy nuisance.

That was the finding of a Zurich appeals court, which earlier this month ordered a farmer to remove the bells from his 27 cows at night, since they were keeping the neighbours awake.

The residents of a small hamlet in the southern highlands of the canton of Zurich began complaining four years ago about the cows grazing in a nearby pasture with loud bells around their necks, chiming all night long.

The local municipality had ordered him to remove the bells at night, but the farmer appealed the order late last year.

After conducting an on-site inspection, the local appeals court ruled in early August to uphold the initial ban on using cow bells in the pasture from 10:00 pm until 7:00 am to avoid too much noise at night.

In its ruling, the court said it had found that "even at a distance of around 80 metres of the source, the noise pollution is very high."

It also noted that the cows on the pasture were fenced in, making the cow bells, usually used to track down cows that have gone astray while summer grazing on Alpine pastures, unnecessary.

The farmer had countered that he needed the bells to find runaway cattle, but the court insisted the interest of the neighbours took precedent.

That may not be the end of the story however.

The farmer has the option of appealing the ruling, all the way up to the supreme court.

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