Editorial: Culling much-loved roosters a fowl idea

Wednesday September 11, 2019 Written by Published in Editorials
Picture of a rooter taken in Rarotonga in 2016. Picture of a rooter taken in Rarotonga in 2016.

Cook Islands bird-lovers will be cock-a-hoop at news that a French court has ruled to protect a rooster’s crowing.

Maurice, a rooster from a tourist hotspot island on the Atlantic coast, was accused of disturbing a retired couple who own a holiday home nearby.

A highly-scientific poll of the eight people who happened to be in the offices of the Cooks Islands News when I was writing this editorial reveals 88.5 per cent of people embrace the country’s roosters (their crow, of course, they don’t cuddle the birds!) as part of island life.

There’s a café in Avarua named the Lucky Rooster; there’s a takeaways outlet in Matavera aptly called the Noisy Rooster.

For the French of course, the rooster is even more emblematic: Le Coq is the symbol of their nation, worn proudly on the chest of every national sports representative.

The discipline demanded of the rooster on the sports fields of the Continent is not so familiar here. There, they are the wake-up call of Europe. Here in the Cooks, they crow night and day.

One colleague says if she’s out on the town, she likes how they all crow at about 3am – it tells her it’s time to go home! And equally, she likes how they all crow at dawn, to tell her to wake up and go to work.

But not everybody loves them. In a letter to the editor of Cook Islands News, tourist Janet Watson said she’d had a blissful time on Rarotonga – sunny days, palm trees waving and sparkling blue sea to snorkel in, friendly people – until night came and the roosters came out.

“I am wondering whether all the roosters on Rarotonga could get rounded up and kept comfortably and safely somewhere soundproof where they could cock-a-doodle-doo to their hearts content? Or maybe culled, for the sake of tourism?”

The people of the Cooks have sacrificed much “for the sake of tourism” but culling their roosters? That’s a fowl idea.

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