Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos Lawsuit: Update and Media Coverage
Litigation - Article Series: from Articles Archive


[UPDATE from UPC, September 15, 2015: See Statement from the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos: We lost the lawsuit. We plan to appeal. We realize this is short notice, but we could not post definitive plans until we heard the judge’s determination. Now we have to work even harder to document the violation of 15 laws by practitioners and to speak out for the chickens. They need us. They have no one but us. There is no place for animal sacrifice in this day and age. Please attend our two demos and show the practitioners and the public that we will not give up.]

Karen Davis, PhD, founder, Alliance to End Chickens As Kaporos
August 2015

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 New York to issue an injunction against Hasidic rabbis and synagogues in Brooklyn from participating in Kaporos. The case also names 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. Tuesday, August 25, 2015, the case was heard in the New York Supreme Court, NY County. Oral arguments were presented from all sides. The judge reserved decision until September 10, 2015.

The New York Daily News covered the hearing including powerful photographs. Read the article here: Jewish chicken slaughter sidewalk ritual is debated in Manhattan court; lives of 50,000 birds at stake

What Is Kaporos?

Kaporos is a ritual practiced by some Hasidic Jewish communities (not all) in various parts of the world including New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem, as part of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The ritual involves practitioners grasping live chickens by their wings and swinging them above the practitioners’ heads while reciting a chant about transferring the practitioners’ sins and punishment to the birds, supposedly absolving the participants of their sins.

 sidewalk slaughter

In New York, Kaporos practitioners erect makeshift slaughterhouses on the public streets and sidewalks.

  • Dead chickens, half dead chickens, chicken blood, chicken feathers, defecation, toxins and garbage consume the public streets.
  • There is no oversight or remedy for cleanup.
  • There is no food, water, shelter or compassion for the chickens who typically sit for days locked in filthy transport crates unable to move.
  • 50,000 chickens are trucked to New York each year for this needless ritual which can be practiced with coins or other non-animal tokens and is not required by Jewish law.

Plaintiffs in the New York lawsuit maintain that operating such illegal public slaughterhouses creates a public health risk, a public health hazard and a dangerous condition while violating the state anticruelty law. We will keep our readers informed on the progress of this landmark lawsuit.

Return to: Litigation
Read more at Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion