A legal precedent has been set in Germany after a retired farming couple lost their legal battle to prevent their rural neighbours from releasing too much smell with their chickens.
The North Rhine-Westphalia court ruled on Monday that smells are an unavoidable part of the countryside, and those living there would have to put up with it, reports TheLocal.de. The case originally went to a smaller, local court after feuding neighbours challenged a farmer who wanted to expand his chicken coops, complaining that the small of chicken poo would make the air unbreathable.
The local court initially upheld their complaint – but after it passed to the state court the decision was overturned, with the judge commenting that as farmers themselves, the complainants should have known what to expect from living in the countryside. A spokesman for a local farmers association said of the ruling that bad smells from poo was an “everyday problem” in rural communities, and the only unusual element of the case was that people were actually willing to go to court over it.
Country life is the source of near unending court proceedings, as more often than not city dwellers move from urban life to seek what they believe to be a rural idyll – only to find the reality not quite fitting their hopes and aspirations. In 2013 the Daily Mail reported the case of a Cornish church which had been the subject of a complaint by a local resident, who claimed it should be subject to the same noise controls as pubs or restaraunts.
Graham Dutnall, 60, of Liskeard complained that St. Martin’s church bells were being rung too often, and too loudly. He said “Liskeard is a beautiful, peaceful town but this is ruining all that; it is destroying the peace and quiet… They make a hell of a lot of noise – they are designed to be heard”.
Complaints about church bells being rung are now so common in the UK, registered charity the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers even has a page on its website explaining how to deal with complaints. It laments that these days, perfectly sound reasons such as “the church was here first” and “we have been doing this for hundreds of years” is no longer enough. One man commented: “A minority of people do not like the sound of the bells. I say to them, ‘If you don’t like church bells, why did you move to a village?”.