A French poultry farmer is suing his country’s defence ministry, claiming that two low-flying fighter jets frightened almost 5,000 of his chickens to death.
Etienne Le Mahauté, a farmer in the village of Pléguien, Brittany, western France, claims that the military aircraft caused a chicken stampede in which 4,800 of the terrified fowl died of suffocation.
Mr Mahauté said he was having lunch on Tuesday when two military aircraft shot over his farm at very low altitude.
“We were in the house eating. When (the planes) passed overhead, we had vibrations in our backs it was so loud,” he said.
He ran straight to the giant coops where the chickens are kept only to find they had rushed into the same side and lay lifeless in their thousands.
“The chickens were terrified. They were stacked up on top of each in several layers on the same side of the three buildings,” he told the newspaper Ouest France. “If we hadn’t been there, it could have been worse. We separated those we could…”
The farmer, who is in charge of 68,000 fowl belonging to an agricultural co-operative, is demanding between 12,000 and 15,000 euros in compensation.
Frédéric Solano, a French air force official, confirmed that two jets had flown past the farm on Tuesday at midday as part of a “scheduled flight at an altitude respecting current rules”…
Last year, Britain’s Ministry of Defence paid out £42,000 to a Staffordshire farmer whose chickens laid fewer eggs because they were frightened by the Red Arrows display team.
I suppose we have to have compensation for animals in our care – although the premises of that care, including the level of stupidity bred into a pursuit of passivity, don’t especially convince me that all farmers deserve payment.
One of the farmers in my family raised “modern” domestic turkeys for a spell. Not to be confused with the crafty, intelligent critters roaming the wild. We always had to wave at them to halt any practice of looking skyward when it started to rain – because they would stand there with mouths open and drown.