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September 16, 2015 Bookmark and Share  
Statement from the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos
Re: Lawsuit Against NYPD, NYC Department of Health, Hasidic Rabbis, et al.

On July 10th, the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, a New York based organization, along with 20 additional plaintiffs, filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court to issue an injunction against Hasidic rabbis and synagogues in Brooklyn from participating in the bloody ritual called Kaporos. The case also named the NYPD, NYC Department of Health and the City of New York for failing to enforce city health laws and animal cruelty laws, among others. On September 14, 2015, Judge Debra James, New York Supreme Court, NY County, ruled that city officials had discretion whether to enforce sanitary codes. She also ruled that private parties couldn't sue over an alleged public nuisance, but did leave the case open for non-city parties, directing them to appear for a preliminary conference on October 27, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.

We are deeply disappointed in the judge’s decision to allow laws designed to protect animals and the health and safety of New York residents to be flouted at the discretion of city and state officials catering to a lawbreaking constituency. Our attorneys are examining the new legal challenges that exist in light of the decision and are considering our next legal move. That said, we intend to push forward with our scheduled protests Sunday and Monday, September 20th and 21st, 2015, 7 – 9 p.m. at 824 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213 (between Kingston and Albany), where the slaughter of suffering, starving chickens on public streets will precede Yom Kippur.

Kaporos is a ritual practiced by Hasidic Jews as part of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Practitioners grasp live chickens painfully by their wings and swing them over their heads. The purpose of this act, followed by the slaughter, is allegedly to transfer the person’s sins and punishment to the birds. To conduct the slaughter, Kaporos practitioners erect makeshift slaughterhouses on the public streets and sidewalks of New York City. Dead chickens, half dead chickens, blood, feathers, chicken urine and feces, other toxins and garbage consume the public streets. There is no oversight and no remedy for cleanup. We maintain that operating such illegal public slaughterhouses creates a public nuisance, a public health risk, a public health hazard and a dangerous condition, and we will continue our fight to stop this terrible, cruel practice.

Karen Davis, PhD, founder, Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos.

Chickens being carried by their wings while another chicken flees

Kaporos in Crown Heights, Brooklyn NY.
Photo by Carol Guzy, The Washington Post


The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is a project of United Poultry Concerns. Formed in New York City in June 2010, the Alliance is an association of groups and individuals who seek to replace the use of chickens in Kaporos ceremonies with money or other non-animal symbols of atonement. The Alliance does not oppose Kaporos per se, only the cruel and unnecessary use of chickens in the ceremony.

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