Noisy cows spark outcry from British homeowners in French Alps

Brits with second homes in a rural district in the south east of France have just about had enough of their noisy neighbours.

Noisy cows spark outcry from British homeowners in French Alps
But it's not party animals that are disturbing the resident's slumber in the picturesque Alpine village of Biot but instead the neighbourhood cows with their noisy bells. 
To express their annoyance at the situation, around 20 residents of the village in the Haute-Savoie – home to a total of 600 people – have signed a petition to have the cows moved. 
The petition, signed “only by second home owners” in the village, according to mayor Henri-Victor Tournier, including Brits, Belgians, Corsicans and Parisians, complains of the “noise of the animals on the paths opposite the chalets and apartments of the Corbier hill”.


“We understand that we live in the countryside and that there is a long history of cows, sheep and goats in the region,” they concede. “Nevertheless, the constant noise of the bells opposite, all through the day and night is unbearable. There are more fields, higher up, where the cows can graze.” 
In the village situated 30km from Lake Geneva, the cows – who provide the milk for the production of the delicious Reblochon cheese – graze close to the residences, are providing another service to the area.
“It costs us €5000-8000 euros to strim the grass, in order for it to be neat. At the moment, the cows graze it for us, it's pleasant…”, Tournier told Le Dauphine newspaper.
And the mayor plans to stand firm on the issue. 
“If the petition came only from people living here all year round, I would understand; but that's not the case,” he said.
It was Tournier who discovered – after checking the water bills of the people who signed the petition – the only people who had signed were those with second homes. 
The cows will not be moved, Tournier has said, adding that there is a major road nearby which “generates more noise”. 
And apparently for the mayor, “There is no question of banning the bells!”
However, he has said he will instead try to solve the problem by investigating the possibility of putting smaller bells on the cows. 
And on October 13th the people in favour of moving the cows will be able to present their point of view at the council meeting, he told France 3 Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.


France’s Asterix park to shut down dolphin show

A major amusement park in northern France said on Monday it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium, the day before lawmakers start to debate new animal welfare rules.

France's Asterix park to shut down dolphin show
France has long discussed imposing stricter rules on using wild animals in amusement parks. Illustration photo: AFP

The dolphin shows are a popular attraction at Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, but have long been a target of animal rights activists.

“We've been thinking about this for several years,” the park's managing director Nicolas Kremer told Le Parisien newspaper, saying the site wanted to focus instead on rides and other shows.

He said the dolphins would be transferred to other aquariums in Europe in the next two months, adding: “Reintroduction in a natural environment is not possible for these animals raised in captivity.”

A ban on captive breeding of dolphins and other marine mammals as well as their use in shows is a key part of the draft law, with the debate due to begin on Tuesday.

A previous effort to outlaw the practices by decree in 2017 was thrown out by the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, but animal rights group have kept up pressure for the ban.

“These associations think that captivity is abuse, but I can tell you that we have always ensured the wellbeing of our animals,” Kremer said.

The park, based on the beloved Asterix the Gaul comics, is hoping to reopen for the busy summer season on April 3rd if coronavirus restrictions are lifted by then.

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