Maurice , the most famous rooster in France, will be able to continue singing at dawn, after a court rejected the demand of neighbors who accused the bird of waking them up too early, a sentence considered as a victory for rural traditions in France.
" Maurice won and the plaintiffs will have to pay their owner 1,000 euros for damages , " said Julien Papineau, a lawyer for the owner of the bird, Corinne Fesseau, when leaving the court in Rochefort (southwest).
"I have no words. We won. It is a victory for all the people in my same situation. I hope you believe jurisprudence," said the owner of this rooster who has been the subject of headlines around the world.
" Everyone is going to be protected after this: bells, frogs, etc. ", he added, referring to other similar demands against the noises of the rural world, which often opposes the usual inhabitants with the neo-rural.
"What if a Maurice law was made to protect rural noises?" Fesseau enthusiastically proposed.
Let me sing
An article in the New York Times , t-shirts with the slogan Let me sing ( let me sing ), a request to "save Maurice" that got more than 140,000 signatures .
The rooster Maurice became in recent months a symbol of rural France threatened.
His cackle at dawn bothered a couple of retirees, owners of a secondary residence on the tourist island of Oléron, in the southwest of France, who took the trial to court.
It is not a trial of "the city against the countryside. It is a problem of sound damage. The rooster, the dog, the horn, the music ... is a case about noise," said lawyer Vincent Huberdeau , which represents the plaintiffs, at a hearing on July 4.
But the owner of the rooster argued in court that she had never before received complaints about Maurice's clucking. "The chicken coops have always existed. Among 40 neighbors, it only bothers two," he said.
For Fesseau, "the field is entitled to its noises. The rooster has the right to sing, the roosters do not sing since 04.30 am indefinitely."
"We have always lived among orchards, chicken coops, we have a fairly traditional life," said the mayor of the city, Christophe Sueur.
The city against the countryside
To verify the claim of the retired couple that Maurice disturbed his sleep, a court official was sent home three nights in a row to assess the time and volume of his singing.
The official concluded that the rooster sang "intermittently" between 06:30 and 07:00 in the morning, and not since 4 in the morning, as they claimed, and said that the noise was "audible", but in no way loud if the Couple closed the windows.
The court ordered them to pay 1,000 euros for "having acted in an abusive way when filing a lawsuit", without first trying to resolve the matter with their neighbor .
The Maurice case, although anecdotal, illustrates fears that the rural world will disappear in France, due to the decline in agricultural and livestock activity, and the exodus of young people into the city.
Bruno Dionis du Séjour, mayor of the small town of Gajac, in the southwest of France, published an enraged letter to defend the "right" of the bells of the churches to ring, the cows to die and the donkeys to bray.
The allusion to the bells is due to a dispute that occurred in 2018 in a town in the Doubs region (east), where the owners of a secondary residence complained that they rang at 07.00, too early to understand.
Bruno Dionis du Séjour even promotes that the noises of the countryside are classified as "French national heritage".
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