A calf died that morning. He adds to the fifty animals he says he has lost since the pylon was erected in July 2021 about 200 meters from his farm, in the town of Mazeyrat d’Allier.

The breeder is sure: the cows cannot stand the electromagnetic waves generated by the relay antenna.

Contrary to their habit, the animals huddle together in the vast building which serves as a stable, at the entrance to the village. Some have bulging eyes, emaciated sides, one of them has a blocked jaw.

“Look, they can’t even raise their heads. They should be lying everywhere, there’s plenty of room, there are 60 of them for a 98 building!”, this 43-year-old man, beard of three days and gray coveralls.

He had seized the administrative court of Clermont-Ferrand to request a temporary deactivation of the antenna pending an expertise.

He had won his case but the decision, unprecedented in France, was challenged by the Council of State, seized by the State and by the operators Orange, Bouygues Télécom, Free and SFR.

In desperation, the herder has repeatedly turned off the antenna circuit breaker and assures that the herd is better off when the transmitter is not working.

In addition to the deaths, there is a significant drop in milk production, according to him.

“This herd is one of the top 10% to 20% in the department” and “I have no medical evidence to explain the sudden drop in milk production, from 15% to 20%, in the days that followed. setting up the antenna”, testified the legal expert before the administrative court in May.

To “save what there is to save”, Frédéric Sagères decided to sell what he can, in consultation with his wife and his brother, associated with him in the Gaec (Groupement agricole d’exploitation en commun ) of Coupet.

– “Started from nothing” –

A hundred animals – half of the herd – have already left. On this October afternoon, eleven carefully selected will be taken to a farmer in Saône-et-Loire.

The cows, Prim’holsteins in black and white coats, are reluctant to climb into the trailer before the doors close behind them.

“It’s heartbreaking. We started with 30 milkmaids with my brother, we started from scratch 15 years ago… But we’re not going to continue like this, the cows have no more milk. We don’t don’t go to work to see the animals suffer,” said Frédéric Sagères, looking gloomy, watching the vehicle drive away.

“We will keep around thirty animals, we will sell crops and we will go to work as employees”, he resigns himself.

“In the morning you talk on air, at noon you talk on air, in the evening you talk on air. It eats away at you. We always hoped that they would stop it, but no one is able to make the decision”, laments the farmer .

His 19-year-old son, who has just finished his studies, was to join the family farm. He is now employed on a nearby farm.

The expertise mandated by the judicial court of Puy-en-Velay must be returned at the end of February.

“I am very pessimistic. If they do not want to cut the antenna, in three months, six months, we will be at the same point”, estimates Philippe Molherat, the mayor of the village.

Originally in favor of the pylon to improve network coverage in the region, the elected official has participated in rallies in recent months to demand that it be stopped.

“We tried everything, analyzed the water, the fodder, changed the feed, autopsied the deceased cows, there is nothing”, details Frédéric Sagères. In the meantime, “we do the job as before, but now we just keep them alive”.