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 Post subject: neighbouring farmer advice required
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:53 pm 
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This should probably go to the farming section but this one has had more recent attention - and it is about an issue related to my garden.

Our garden is separated from a neighbours pasture by a moat of double fence and oaks/scrub. In winter we can look over and watch cattle or horses or wild boar, whichever is the current venture of the elderly farmer. We have observed many signs of poor animal husbandry from our walks in the area and the farmer seems to have a reputation of bad practices but he is unwilling to retire.

Over the last few weeks we have noticed 2 dead cows near scrub, visible from our garden and there is currently a third lying, but not dead. The first dead cow we were able to catch the farmer's handyman in the lane to report the first. Hubby said he seemed to be aware of it and next day it had been moved further up the field. They must have known about the second, as it's body is not far from the third, ailing cow which for the first 2 days had been left a little hay. We suspect a fourth cow may be dead on the far side of the field.

We have not been able to visit the farm as the property double gates are always barred and there has been no farmhand to be seen.

We visited the gendarmerie at the weekend to ask for advice and were referred to the vet nearby, who informed us that they were no longer dealing with the farm and were equally concerned but could only refer us to an agricultural office in Poitiers as they had repeatedly complained to the same office when they had been dealing with the farm. We are going to visit the mairie first.

My problem is I am finding it difficult to pinpoint the legal obligations of the farmer in French - I realise EU law will be relevant, but I am hoping to get the mairie to help with possibly contacting the relevant departmental office. The staff don't speak English so I need to get as much information to translate my complaints to them.

Apologies for the essay... but advice on this issue would be gratefully received.


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 Post subject: Re: neighbouring farmer advice required
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:08 pm
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Location: Zurich/Basel and Suffolk
JAZZ wrote:
but advice on this issue would be gratefully received.


You are going to have to live with the farmer and his family as neighbors once this blows over - tread carefully - especially if (lack of) language skills could lead to misunderstandings.

J


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 Post subject: Re: neighbouring farmer advice required
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:00 pm 
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Location: The Republic of Limousin
It seems it's not that uncommon having done a quick Google search, and is often the result of poor feeding (e.g., not enough grass) or contaminated feed/grass.

The mairie seems to be the right place to go. You can legitimately say that it's "un danger en matière de santé publique" and "un trouble de voisinage".

You could also try (or better, get the mairie to contact them) the Groupement de défense sanitaire for your département.

J has made a very good point - discretion will be vital.

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 Post subject: Re: neighbouring farmer advice required
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:34 pm 
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I appreciate your comments , but it is very difficult to observe animals which are dying on the other side of the fence.

I accept that we have invited ourselves to live within this rural backwater and this individual has been operating this way since long before we moved here. In the many years we have lived near this farmer there has been no reason for him to consider us as anything but courteous. The other farmers are more conscientious in their practices from our observations, thank goodness.

I think the "public health" approach is more likely to interest the establishment than my concerns for animal wellbeing. I've always realised that. The difficulty is teasing out the legal obligations from simply advisory stuff from the limited information that I can dig up from internet searches. From what I have gathered from googling so far Police, Mairie, are obvious starting points but they don't appear to know it!


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 Post subject: Re: neighbouring farmer advice required
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:28 pm 
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I would have another try to speak to the handyman. Ask if he would like you to contact the ???(in english knacker's yard )- there's a legal requirement to dispose of the dead beasts in a certain way. But I believe it costs.
If your french isn't good enough get someone to go with you.There was once a thread on one of the forums about finding a decomposing horse on the lane, and that was the advice given.
Very upsetting seeing such suffering.


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 Post subject: Re: neighbouring farmer advice required
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:36 pm 
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Location: Ille et Villaine (35)
Hi Jazz, and welcome to the forum !

Can you take a video or photos of what you see ? Show something to the folk at the Mairie and it may well jolt them out of their comfortable chairs to do something.

I don't know why it is, but cruelty and neglect of animals seems to be something no-one wants to deal with, both in the UK and here.
There are all sorts of complaints about what goes on in other countries, but it's happening on our own doorsteps. It's horrible to see animals suffering unnecessarily.

I agree with MAD and Niemeyjt about discretion : People here can turn quite nasty if they think someone has reported them.


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 Post subject: Re: neighbouring farmer advice required
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:15 pm 
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Yes, we have taken photographs.

It is inconvenient and uncomfortable to take any action, however discreet we try to be ..... but I cannot excuse myself from being involved in something so blatantly under my own nose. That's a lot of cows dying around us.


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 Post subject: Re: neighbouring farmer advice required
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:32 pm 
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We are quite prepared to communicate with the relevant authority in French, but it is understanding what we are trying to get across to them first, that is the problem. What can we expect of them ie: what actions, if any, is it reasonable to expect from them? Who inspects such farms or imposes a course of action upon the offending farmer?

If this is normal, or lawful, practice of farms in dealing with ailing or dead animals, then I can't change that, but is it lawful, can anyone tell me?


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 Post subject: Re: neighbouring farmer advice required
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:11 pm 
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Hi JAZZ, welcome to the forum.

Are the animals in question visible to anyone else, then it would be easier to stay anonymous as far as the farmer was concerned? Say, near a lane, track, public footpath? You could try the Brigitte Bardot Foundation. You can email them the details, with the photos and dates, and could therefore prepare what you need to say in advance. They will ring you to clarify the situation though, but it's possible someone speaks English, as I see one of the pages on her animal welfare site is in English. They are thorough, and discreet. Especially if you could explain your predicament of not wanting to fall out with your neighbour, but not being able to see animals treated in this way.

It's a very tricky situation, but the BBF could help. They've had to get involved with horse cruelty in this area, so they don't take any animal cruelty lightly and they're happy to step in where Mairies and Gendarmes fear to tread.

http://www.bardotbrigitte.com/brigitte-bardot-foundation/

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 Post subject: Re: neighbouring farmer advice required
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:33 pm 
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Location: Ille et Villaine (35)
That's worth knowing, Bayleaf - we never had any problems where we were living before and it's not easy finding the right people to help. Ideal if they speak English too.

Jazz - what area are you in ?


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