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‘The ducks have won’ – French court says they may keep on quacking

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A neighbour complained that the birds' racket was making their life a misery.

Ducks are pictured at the home of Dominique Douthe, whose neighbours took her to court over her ducksÕ loud quacking, in Soustons

DAX, France, Nov 19 (Reuters) – The ducks on a small French
smallholding may carry on quacking, a French court ruled on
Tuesday, rejecting a neighbour’s complaint that the birds’
racket was making their life a misery.

The court in the town of Dax ruled that the noise from the
flock of around 60 ducks and geese kept by retired farmer
Dominique Douthe in the foothills of the Pyrenees, southwestern
France, was within acceptable limits, broadcaster France 3 said.

“The ducks have won,” Douthe told Reuters after the court
decision. “I’m very happy because I didn’t want to slaughter my
ducks.”

The complaint was brought by Douthe’s neighbour who moved
from the city around a year ago into a property about 50 metres
(yards) away from the enclosure in the Soustons district where
Douthe keeps her flock.

The dispute is the latest in a series of court cases that
have pitted the traditional way of life in rural France against
modern values which, country-dwellers say, are creeping in from
the city.

In a court ruling in September, a rooster named Maurice was
allowed to continue his dawn crowing, despite complaints from
neighbours who had also moved in from the city.

The neighbour in Soustons, about 700 km (430 miles)
south-west of Paris, who filed the complaint about the quacking
has not been publicly identified.

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

The neighbour had asked for immediate steps to reduce the
noise, and for 3,500 euros in damages, according to French media
reports.
– Reuters