In the Oise, a breeder has been fighting with the law for more than 10 years because his neighbours have filed a complaint because of the noise and the smell coming from his cows. On March 8, the breeder was sentenced on appeal.
Vincent Verschuere is a 33-year-old breeder who lives in Saint-Aubin-en-Bray, in the Oise. The breeder owns a farm located in the heart of the village, in which live cows.
In 2010, Vincent Verschuere decided to expand his operation by building two sheds, located less than 100 meters from the houses. Although he received a derogation from the prefecture to undertake his work, the breeder drew the wrath of the neighbourhood.
Nearly 10 years ago, several neighbors filed a complaint against the breeder, disturbed by the noise and the smell coming from the cows. The farm was deemed too close to homes and the Beauvais court ruled in favor of the residents.
«The building housing the cattle has a complete facade open to the outside, which does not allow any real insulation against the diffusion of odors and noise» , decreed the judges.
Upon hearing the news, the breeder decided to appeal to challenge this decision. This Wednesday, March 9, the Amiens Court of Appeal finally ruled and confirmed the decision taken by the Beauvais court, judging that the breeder was the cause of «abnormal disturbances in the neighborhood». Thus, Vincent Verschuere was condemned and he must now pay 102,000 euros in damages to six of his neighbors , some of whom no longer live there.
«I’m upset, it’s a great feeling of injustice. I don’t have this money in my account. This means the end of my operation” , regretted the breeder.
In addition to having to pay this sum to his neighbours, the breeder has three months to modify his operation and reduce noise and olfactory nuisances. Vincent Verschuere sees no other solution than to remove the cows from his sheds, which would prevent him from working.
“It’s complicated to project yourself into the future. The court gives us three months to propose technical solutions aimed at putting an end to the abnormal neighborhood disturbance. But concretely, I don’t know what I’m being asked. It’s related to noise and smell, the two main gripes, but it’s fuzzy and complicated. We had put in place a lot of measures before the construction, so it inevitably becomes complicated to put additional things. We are going to get closer to certain services which could perhaps guide us , ”he explained.
If the breeder does not find any solution against the noise and odors of his operation within three months, the building will be demolished.
“There is a feeling of injustice, of fed up, and a certain concern for the future of farms in general , regretted Vincent Verschuere. From what we understand from this judgment, it is that we no longer necessarily want breeding. There is a great inconsistency between this judgment and the fact of assuming a certain food sovereignty. I am the fourth generation, I was born on this farm, I have always lived there. It’s in my genes, I have the blood of the earth running through my veins.»