Farmer sues air force after 5000 bird deaths

A farmer in Brittany is suing the French air force, blaming them for the death of 5000 chickens, claiming fighter jets roared past at low altitude.

Etienne Le Mahauté, from the village of Pléguien, is in charge of a 68,000 bird farm belonging to a farming co-operative and says two jets flying past at low altitude on 24 August startled the birds causing them to crowd in a corner, suffocating them.

Mr Mahauté told The Daily Telegraph he was having lunch with his wife when the jets flew past.

“We were in the house eating. When [the planes] passed overhead, we had vibrations in our backs it was so loud,” he said.

“The chickens were terrified. They were stacked up on top of each other in several layers on the same side of the three buildings.

“If we hadn’t been there, it could have been worse. We separated those we could.”

Mr Mahauté is looking €12,000-15,000 (£9815-£12,466) in compensation from the Ministère de la défense.

The French air force has admitted jets flew over the area at the time but they claim they were obeying altitude limits, flying high above the farm.

In the UK the Ministry of Defence has paid out millions of pounds due to damage caused to stock and property by low flying jets.

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