A noisy cockerel who has pitted rural and metropolitan France against each other can continue his dawn chorus despite complaints from neighbours, a judge has ruled.
Maurice, a four-year-old cockerel, cannot be silenced after a court in western France rejected a demand for his crowing to be halted.
Jean-Louis Biron, who lives in the city of Rochefort, brought the case against the bird after buying a holiday home next to his owners in nearby Ile d’Oleron, a small island off France’s west coast.
The two-year dispute has become a nationwide symbol of a culture clash between the old rural way of life and modern values.
City dwellers buying country holiday homes have long ruffled feathers between the two communities.
“Today Maurice has won a battle for the whole of France,” owner Corrine Fesseau said.
Mr Biron started complaining about Maurice’s early morning crowing to his owners, Jacky and Corrine Fesseau, but they refused to get rid of their beloved cockerel.
“The cock’s screeching starts at 4.30am and keeps up all morning and well into the afternoon,” Mr Biron wrote in an official letter to his neighbours in 2017.
As Maurice continued to crow, the row escalated and – against the advice of their lawyers and a mediator – the two sides decided to fight it out in court.
Mrs Fesseau said: “I am telling myself, I am not going to let myself be bullied.
“The countryside should stay as it is and they should not say: ‘We should silence the countryside noises’.”
The case featured in national newspapers, T-shirts supporting Maurice went on sale and letters of solidarity from as far away as the US were sent.
Similar court cases against cows and church bells have been filed in France, but Maurice’s situation has had the most emotive effect by far.