ROCHEFORT: A French court ruled on Thursday that a rooster called Maurice could continue his dawn crowing despite complaints from neighbours, in a case the French media has cast as a battle between the old rural way of life and modern values creeping in from the city.
One of Maurice’s owners, Corinne Fesseau, said the court in Rochefort, western France, rejected a demand from the neighbours that Maurice be silenced.
“Today Maurice has won a battle for the whole of France,” said Fesseau.
Maurice, a 4-year-old rooster, lives on a small island off France’s Atlantic coast. His crowing irritated a neighbor, Jean-Louis Biron, who is from the city and bought a second home next door to Maurice’s owners. Biron brought the court case.
The case had quickly ballooned into a national cause celebre, with 140,000 people signing a “Save Maurice” petition or proudly displaying his picture on “Let Me Sing” T-shirts.
Critics saw the lawsuit as part of a broader threat against France’s hallowed rural heritage by city dwellers unable or unwilling to understand the realities of country life.
“This is the height of intolerance — you have to accept local traditions,” Christophe Sueur, the mayor in Fesseau’s village of Saint-Pierre-d’Oleron, said on the case.
Maurice’s case underscores decades-long tensions in France around city dwellers who buy summer homes in the countryside without being ready to cope with the realities of rural life such as animal noise, odors or insects.
Similar court cases against cows and church bells have been filed in France but none with the same emotive impact as Maurice the rooster, who has elicited letters of support from as far away as in the United States.
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