SOUSTONS, FRANCE: French ducks in the dock for quacking

French duck-owner Dominique Douthe, accused by a neighbour of noise disturbance, takes care of her ducks and geese in Soustons. PHOTO: AFP


SOUSTONS, FRANCE (AFP) – Less than two months after the owner of a French rooster was hauled before a court over his rowdy crowing, the owner of a gaggle of geese and ducks is in the dock over their boisterous quacking.

The latest case to ruffle feathers in the French countryside pits a woman rearing around 50 ducks and geese in her back garden in the southwestern Landes region – a duck-breeding bastion – against her newcomer neighbours.

Dominique Douthe, 67, lives outside the town of Soustons, about 60 kilometres north of the Atlantic resort of Biarritz. She told AFP the row began a little over a year ago when the new neighbours moved into a house across the road.

With the previous owners, she claimed, “I never had any problem. And then he (the husband of the plaintiff couple) arrived and my poultry bothers him,” she said, with an exasperated air. The case is one of several that have been cast as an attack on the rights of cows to moo and donkeys to bray throughout rural France.

The mascot of this battle between urban and rural France is a rooster named Maurice, whose early-morning crowing so annoyed his neighbours on the island of Oleron that they took his owner to court.

A court in the western town of Rochefort is set to issue a ruling in that case tomorrow.


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