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France protects farmers with law

Франция пази фермерите със закон
France's parliament has passed a law to protect farmers from neighbors' complaints about noise or stench from farming activities, to stop "abusive" lawsuits from ex-citizens who bought houses in the countryside.

The bill, proposed by the ruling majority lawmaker Nicole Le Pay and backed by the centrist government of President Emmanuel Macron, was approved by 78 votes to 12 overnight on Monday and now faces passage in the Senate.

“This law will end abusive lawsuits against farmers who are doing nothing but their job - feeding us. This proposal is a manifestation of common sense, it is good for the country," said Justice Minister Eric Dupont-Moretti in an interview on the subject, to France24.

French lawmakers have long shown concern for farmers, an influential sector that Paris ignores at its peril.

The country has a history of conflicts between former city dwellers who buy country properties and then complain about roosters crowing, dogs barking, the noise of farm machinery or the smell of manure.

BFM TV reported that nearly 500 farmers are currently facing lawsuits from neighbors who complain about noise or odors emanating from their farms.

In 2019, in a case that attracted international media attention, a court ruled that a rooster named Maurice could continue crowing at dawn, despite complaints from neighbors in a small village on France's Atlantic coast.

France already has legislation introduced in 2021 to protect the "sensory heritage of the French countryside", but the new law aims to give more protection to existing farms from newly arrived residents in the area.

“I am proud to support those who work in our fields. Now I will fight for our rights in the Senate as well,” said FNSEA Vice President Luke Smesert.

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