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June 5, 2023
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Maurice the noisy cockerel dies aged six

Rooster "Maurice" in Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron in La Rochelle, western France, 5 June 2019Image copyright AFP

Maurice the cockerel, whose owner was taken to court over his early-morning crowing, has died aged six.

He gained international support – and became a symbol of campaigns to protect the sounds of the French countryside – after finding himself at the centre of a legal dispute over noise pollution.

But in 2019, a court ruled in Maurice’s favour and lived out the rest of his days at home on the isle of Oléron.

The bird reportedly died in May but his owner waited to break the news.

“I said to myself that with lockdown, people already had enough to worry about,” Corinne Fesseau was quoted as saying by French radio network, France Bleu. “We’ve bought a new cockerel and we’ve called him Maurice too – he sings just as well. But he will never be our Maurice.”

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Fesseau tried to quieten the original Maurice – including by placing sheets over his coop

Maurice’s troubles began when a retired couple who owned a holiday home on Oléron accused the bird of disturbing them.

He then became a celebrity of sorts in France, where the Gallic Cockerel is one of the national emblems, and a petition to save him gained tens of thousands of signatures.

Ms Fesseau, who has lived on Oléron for 35 years, would have had to move or somehow silence Maurice if the judge had ruled against her.

But in September last year, the judge sided with Maurice’s owners and ordered the plaintiffs to pay €1,000 (£900; $1,100) in damages.

“It’s a victory for everyone in the same situation as me. I hope it will set a precedent for them,” Ms Fesseau was quoted by AFP news agency as saying at the time.

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