– September 23, 2014 –
The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is hosting three two-hour protests in New York’s Crown
Heights in response to the inhumane “swinging” and slaughtering of chickens in Kaporos rituals the week before Yom Kippur (October 3) –
the Jewish Day of Atonement. The protesters plan to assemble at 792 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213 (corner of Kingston Ave.) at the following times.
-- Tuesday, Sept 30: 6 pm to 8 pm
-- Wednesday, Oct 1: 6 pm to 8 pm
-- Thursday, Oct 2: 6 pm to 8 pm
During Kaporos, some Jewish practitioners in New York, as well as Los Angeles, Lakewood, NJ, Miami, Jerusalem and elsewhere, wave chickens, held by their
legs or wings pinned backward, around their heads while chanting verses about transferring their sins and punishment symbolically to the bird.
“In 2010, I founded the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, a project of United Poultry Concerns (UPC),
after witnessing years of Kaporos horrors,” said Karen Davis, PhD, who also founded UPC. “As more and more animal rights activists get
involved, and with legal challenges in the works, many Orthodox rabbis are publicly condemning Kaporos on grounds of animal cruelty and sacrilege.”
The fact that the sale and slaughter of chickens during Kaporos is connected to a religious ritual does not make it exempt from local and state laws. In
fact, many laws are being broken in New York even as police stand by. Davis said although New York State Anti-Cruelty Law Article 26 requires animals to
have fresh food, water and protection from the weather, chickens used for Kaporos are held for days in transport crates stacked on the streets, trapped in
their own waste with no water or food.
Davis pointed out that many other laws are being violated at the Kaporos sites. “Some of the laws that are blatantly not enforced include animal
nuisance laws which prohibit sellers of live poultry from leaving chicken blood, feces and feathers on the sidewalk and street,” she said. Davis
added that it is illegal to pile up dead animals on the street prior to their disposal. Last year, witnesses reported seeing dead chickens on the public
streets, as well as an uncovered dumpster containing chickens.
Brooklyn resident Rina Deych said, “Every year, I see chickens thrown into dumpsters. Not just the dead ones but also birds who are dying of
dehydration, injury, exhaustion and pain. We have obtained footage of live chickens writhing on the ground with their throats cut and being thrown into
plastic garbage bags by Kaporos butchers in Brooklyn.”
Davis pointed to the New York law that says, “People who enter any premises containing live poultry within the State of New York shall take every
sanitary precaution possible to prevent the introduction or spread of avian influenza into or within the State.” This law includes disinfecting of
all footwear before entering and after leaving any premises containing live poultry. “All sites we observed were filthy,” said Davis.
“There were dead chickens, blood and feathers on the sidewalk. People entering Kaporos areas, where thousands of chickens were sold, left without
disinfecting footwear and carried chicken feces outside of the Kaporos area.”
This year, as in 2013, Brooklyn protests will feature moving illuminated billboards on a van projecting the voice of Hasidic Rabbi Yonassan Gershom
explaining why suspending chickens by their wings is cruel and why using chickens for Kaporos violates the Torah mandate to show compassion to animals. In Kaporos: A Heartfelt Plea for Mercy, Rabbi Gershom implores:
“Please do not torture a bird this way – this is not a mitzvah, our Torah does not require this, it will not cancel your sins. I beg you,
please give money, instead of hurting one of God’s living creatures.”
Davis says, “The chickens need mercy from us. We ask Kaporos observers to show mercy and use money instead of chickens.”
To learn more about the Alliance, please go to www.endchickensaskaporos.com.
Visit www.upc-online.org, Facebook and twitter
@upcnews and @kindkaporos.
Susan Tellem, APR, RN. BSN
Tellem Grody PR, Inc.