Court affirms French rooster’s right to crow

Written by on September 9, 2019

The owner of famed French rooster Maurice emerged victorious on Thursday from a legal battle with her neighbours over his early-morning crowing, with a court upholding the bird’s right to sing in the day.

The case brought by the neighbours of Maurice’s owner Corinne Fesseau has made headlines around the world, seen as symptomatic of the tensions in the countryside between rural folk and holiday homeowners.

“Maurice won and the plaintiffs must pay his owner 1,000 euros in damages,” Fesseau’s lawyer Julien Papineau told AFP.

Fesseau had told the court in Rochefort, western France, that nobody on the picturesque Atlantic island of Oleron had ever complained about Maurice before a couple of pensioners bought a holiday home next door.

Jean-Louis Biron, himself a retired farmer, and his wife Joelle, from the Haute-Vienne region of central France, claimed that they were being roused at 4:00 a.m. by Maurice’s shrill wake-up call.

Fesseau said she made several attempts to silence her pet, including placing black sheets around his coop to trick him into thinking that morning had not yet broken — all to no avail.

Reacting to the ruling Thursday, she shouted a victorious “Cocorico” (French for cock-a-doodle-doo) outside the courtroom and said she was “speechless”.

“It’s a victory for everyone in the same situation as me. I hope it will set a precedent for them,” she said, calling for a new “Maurice law” protecting the sounds of the countryside.

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