Cow bells ordered off after noise complaints

Malcolm Curtis
Malcolm Curtis - [email protected]
Cow bells ordered off after noise complaints
Photo: Switzerland Tourism

A court has ordered a farmer in the Zurich Oberland to remove bells from his cows because of complaints from neighbours who could not sleep at night because of the noise.


The residents of a hamlet live in homes adjoining a pasture where the farmer keeps some of his 27 cows.

The conflict, which has attracted national media attention, began around four years ago when residents asked the farmer to take the bells off cows who had come from mountain pastures.

In November 2014 he appealed an order from the local municipal council for a night ban on the cowbells, the Blick newspaper reported at the weekend.

But last week a court decided on a complete ban after organizing an on-site inspection, the newspaper said.

The court noted that even at a distance of 80 metres residents were exposed to loud noise from the bells, which are traditionally used to keep track of cows that graze on Alpine pastures in the summer.

The ruling noted that the cows were kept in a fenced enclosure so bells (Kuhglocken) were not necessary for locating the animals.

The farmer argued that he remained concerned about runaway cattle, citing a past case in which a dog entered the enclosure and scared off the cows, Blick said.

But the judge remained unconvinced, saying that the interest of residents was more important.

But the saga is not yet over.

The farmer can appeal the decision through an administrative court, whose judgment could be further appealed to Switzerland’s supreme court.


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