The Trial of Maurice the Rooster

Hon, you know what’s stranger than the Central Park Squirrel Census? A rooster on trial!

Cockadoodle-Do or Cockadoodle-Don’t?

On June 23,  The New York Times ran an article,  On Front Lines of Culture War In France:  Maurice the Rooster by Adam Nossiter about a rooster on trial for waking up neighbors with his early-bird song. Jean-Louis Biron and Joëlle Andrieux, who built a summer vacation house in the town of St.-Pierre-D’Oléron 15 years ago, had enjoyed peaceful vacations until Corinne Fesseau installed a chicken coop in 2017. “Jean-Louis Biron and Joëlle Andrieux have petitioned a judge to make Ms. Fesseau and her husband stop ‘the nuisances consecutive to the installation of their chicken-coop, and most particularly the song of Maurice the cock. They insist that the setting is urban, and so Maurice has no right to crow.'” The notion that the town is urban is part of the controversy.

The crowing Gallic coq is an eternal symbol of France and the controversy taps in to France’s still unbroken connection to its agricultural past, its self-image as a place that exalts farm life and the perceived value of a simpler existence.

Maurice has become the most famous chicken in France, but as always in a country where hidden significance is never far from the surface, he is much more than just a chicken.

The following are quotes and info from Nossiter’s NYT’s article. 

  • Maurice is described as “a cantankerous fowl with a magnificent puffed-out coat who struts Ms. Fesseau’s backyard with three hens in tow.”
  • “Mr. Biron and Ms. Andrieux hired an official court bailiff to report on the rooster, at a cost of hundreds of dollars…On the second and third day, at 6:30 and 7:00 am, the bailiff ‘took note of the song of the rooster.'”
  • Tens of thousands of people across France have signed a petition in the rooster’s favor.
  • The mayor of St.-Pierre-D’Oléron supported a municipal ordinance that “proclaimed the need ‘to preserve the rural character’ of the town.”
  • “A parliamentary representative from the rural district of Lozère wants rural sounds to be officially classified and protected as ‘national heritage’.”
  • “The rooster must be defended,” said mayoral candidate Thibault Brechkoff.
  • The plaintiff’s lawyer, Vincent Huberdeau said his clients are “not against the rooster, they’ve never asked for the death of the animal, this is about noise.”
  • Mr. Huberdeau said, “[My clients] have been presented as hostile to nature. But it’s not that at all. They have nothing against the rural world.”
  • “A mediator suggested sending Maurice away while Mr. Biron and Ms. Andrieux were using their vacation home.” Ms. Fesseau said, “I won’t be separated from my rooster!”
  • Ms. Fesseau also said, “A rooster needs to express himself.”
  • “On a recent morning, at precisely 6 am, with the sun just emerging, Maurice stiffened, raised his head, shook his wattles, opened his beak and let out a low, hoarse crow that Maurice’s lawyer characterized as ‘discreet.’ Ms. Fesseau’s husband, Jacky, slept right through the performance.”
  • Ms. Fesseau fretted, “Before, [Maurice] was happy, everything was going so well. But now…all this uproar and stress…”
  • “The rooster’s lawyer, in official pleadings, said Maurice ‘himself has perceived this disquiet, as for the past past several months he has only rarely sung.'”
  • “A random sampling of other neighbors uncovered only staunch defenders of Maurice.”
  • “Why must a rooster be arrested?’ asked neighbor Katherine Karom.
  • Another neighbor, Renaud Morandeau, said “he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about since he’d never heard it and added, ‘And even if I had heard, what the heck, it’s a rooster.'”
  • “There was no immediate risk of expulsion, or less pleasant rooster destinies.”

The court will announce a verdict in September.


One thought on “The Trial of Maurice the Rooster

  1. Pingback: The Verdict’s In: The Rooster Can Crow! – Bmore energy

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