Farmer loses appeal in row over noisy cow bells

Farmer loses appeal in row over noisy cow bells
File photo: Caroline Bishop
A farmer in the Zurich Oberland has lost his latest appeal against neighbours who demanded he remove the bells from his cows because they made too much noise.

A Zurich cantonal court this week upheld the decision of a first instance court made last August, confirming that the farmer must remove the bells from his cows at night, 20 Minutes reported on Thursday.

The ruling applies to any cow located within 200 metres of a house, between 10pm and 7am.

But the farmer – named by 20 Minutes as Manuel Zwischenbrugger – looks set to continue his battle over the issue, which started some five years ago when his neighbours said the noise made by the cow bells kept them awake at night.

In 2014 the local council forbade him from using cow bells at night, an order he appealed.

But after making a site inspection a court ruled last August that the farmer’s neighbours were exposed to loud noise from the bells, even at a distance.

Since the cows were kept in a fenced enclosure, bells were unnecessary, said the court.

But Zwischenbrugger argued that his cattle had on occasion escaped from the enclosure and bells helped him locate them again.

This latest court ruling is unlikely to put an end to the saga.

Speaking to local paper the Zürcher Oberländer last year, the farmer’s lawyer said his client didn't intend to let the issue go.

“We are ready to take it to the supreme court. If my client eventually loses we will know that the farming world no longer counts for much in this country,” said the lawyer.

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