as published in The Jerusalem Post
October 14, 2015
Of course meat is murder. The animals we brutally slaughter for food want to live every bit as much as we do. What’s more, they deserve to live because we humans are not natural carnivores and thus have no requirement for flesh in our diet.
As for ritual slaughter and kaparot, do we really think that an all-loving God would want his innocent creatures needlessly subjected to terror and pain? And do we really believe our sins can be transferred to a chicken?
It’s time to move into the 21st century and recognize that all cruelty to animals is wrong.
AND another letter published on the same day:
Regarding “It’s about much more than chicken slaughter rights: Animal rights activists view all meat as murder” (Comment & Features, October 8), not only does the kaparot ritual violate 15 New York City or NY State laws and statutes, it is in direct contradiction with Torah and Talmudic mandates and imperatives, not the least of which is the Torah mandate not to cause unnecessary harm to animals. Even by the longest stretch of imagination, the ritual is not remotely necessary, as acknowledged by Rabbi Josef Karo, author of Shulhan Aruch, who called it a “foolish custom.” It has remained controversial through the centuries, with many great rabbis and sages speaking out against it. Great halachic scholars have referred to it as a pagan custom that has nothing to do with Judaism.
While the people who run these operations claim the birds are donated to the poor, in my 22 years of monitoring this, I have witnessed many, if not most, of these birds going directly into the trash and being picked up by sanitation trucks – violating the Torah mandate not to waste. Being covered with feces, blood and pus, these birds’ bodies would never pass any inspection – and if they were ever fed to anyone, it would violate the Torah mandate to care for one’s health.
This ritual is performed on public streets in front of (and over) children and pregnant women, exposing them to potentially dangerous zoonotic pathogens like avian flu, salmonella and E-coli. The stench in the streets is unbearable.
The kaparot ritual as practiced with chickens, is a stain on Judaism. As a registered nurse, health advocate, humanitarian and Jew, I oppose it.
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