Cock-a-doodle don’t!

Wednesday September 11, 2019 Written by Published in Local
Corinne Fesseau pets Maurice, held by a member of his support committee. 19091012 Corinne Fesseau pets Maurice, held by a member of his support committee. 19091012

A French court has ruled in favour of a cockerel owner after their bird’s early morning crowing provoked a noise pollution complaint from neighbours.

 

Maurice, a rooster who roosts on the picturesque isle of Oléron off the Atlantic coast, was accused of disturbing a retired couple who own a holiday home nearby.

News of his legal troubles flew around the world, gaining him a flock of supporters.

His owner, Corinne Fesseau, was cock-a-hoop at news of the ruling. “It’s a victory for everyone in the same situation as me. I hope it will set a precedent for them,” she said.

At a hearing in July, the rooster’s owner’s lawyers had argued the complaint was ridiculous because crowing roosters were part of country life.

And in Rarotonga, an unscientific snap poll indicated many people agreed roosters were a part of daily – and nightly – life.

But over the years in the letters column of Cook Islands News, there have been repeated calls for rooster culls from weary tourists with red-rimmed eyes.

One local tourism worker agrees. Ruta Tangiiau said the wild roosters run on the road, wake everyone up, and spoil tourists’ enjoyment of their holidays – but no one does anything to control them.

It was entirely understandable to save a well-loved pet like Maurice, she said. “But in Raro it’s a rooster cacophony at all hours.”

She said tourists’ complaints were understandable.

“Roosters are part of Raro you will never be rid of them completely – a cull means controlled management.

“We have so many because they are wild, no-one farms them, which is a waste.

“The problem is there are so many male ego roosters they are constantly trying to out-crow or crow first, which is why the cacophony.”

Meanwhile in France, where the Gallic Le Coq is a national symbol, Maurice has become a celebrity of sorts. T-shirts and other merchandise have been made in his honour.

The high-profile case is considered an illustration of the growing tension between residents living in rural France and those moving to escape city life.

Village mayor Christophe Sueur said: “This is the height of intolerance – you have to accept local traditions.”

 

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