Ducks win court case over loud quacking in French countryside

'I’m very happy because I didn’t want to slaughter my ducks,' says owner

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 20 November 2019 00:38 GMT
(AFP via Getty Images)

Ducks living on a smallholding in a French town can keep on quacking, a court has ruled.

A neighbour had lodged an official complaint about the noisy animals, which has now been rejected.

“The ducks have won,” Dominique Douthe, the farmer who keeps the ducks in the Soustons district in southwest France, said. “I’m very happy because I didn’t want to slaughter my ducks.”

A Dax court said the noise from the flock of around 60 ducks and geese kept by the retired farmer was within acceptable limits, broadcaster France 3 said.

The complaint was brought by Ms Douthe’s neighbour, who moved from the city around a year ago into a property about 50 metres away from the enclosure.

The neighbour’s lawyer claimed the noise exceeded permissible levels and prevented the neighbour enjoying their garden or sleeping with their house windows open.

The dispute is the latest in a series of court cases that have seen rural French traditions, especially farmyard noises, challenged by new residents.

A retired couple who had bought a second home on Oleron, an island off the French Atlantic coast, complained that a cockerel’s early morning crowing was disruptive.

In September, Maurice the cockerel won the right to continue crowing where he lived.

“Maurice has won a battle for the whole of France,” said owner Corinne Fesseau after winning the case. “Why shouldn’t we have a Maurice law to protect all rural sounds?”

Reuters contributed to this report

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