Less cowbell: Swiss farmer defies court order to silence his noisy cows

© Denis Balibouse
A legal prescription for a farmer near Zurich, Switzerland is apparently not more cowbell, after a court ordered a night-time curfew and no-go zone on his noisy cattle.

Manuel Zwischenbrugger is taking the case to his country’s federal court and has refused to comply until then, saying that he can’t afford to lose a cow and stifling their bells might let some slip away quietly and gently into the good night.

The canton-level court this week upheld a ruling made in August that any cow located within 200 meters of a house should not wear a cowbell between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., according to 20 Minutes.

Neighbors, who clearly do not include rock legend Bruce Dickinson, have battled Zwischenbrugger since 2014 over the bells which he uses to find any cows that escape from his enclosed pasture.

An inspection that year found their noise to be excessive and “given the layout, it is rather unlikely that cows escape. And if that were the case, the animals would be found quickly... even without bells,” according to the judge.

Nothing comes between this Swiss farmer and his cowbells though, with Zwischenbrugger intent on keeping them.

After last August’s ruling, his lawyer said that his client would take the issue to the Federal Court if necessary.

“If my client eventually loses, we will know that the farming world no longer counts for much in this country,” he said.

Crank up Don’t Fear The Reaper to 11, them be fightin’ words.

Zwischenbrugger isn’t the only farmer hung up on the bells, Duperrut Olivier in Western Switzerland received a similar order from the court, but defiantly told 20 Minutes, “It's been 100 years we put our cows here and nobody ever said anything! We will not remove those bells!"

The real victims of this ongoing saga are the captive cows themselves, who are driven mad by the perpetual and irritating noise of the noose around their necks.