Brooklyn, New York residents being represented by an animal rights group named the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporas has filed a lawsuit against four rabbis, multiple Hassidic Jewish organizations and the City of New York alleging animal abuse involving a religious ritual that entails using chickens. The New York Daily News says group alleges that the ritual in question involves swinging chicks around by their wings and slicing their necks on public sidewalks. The suit also accuses the police and health departments of being complicit in the act by not only cordoning off streets but also not enriching state and local animal cruelty laws. Residents have complained of odors resulting from the public observance of the act that allege illness and foul smelling odors.
What is involved is that a Hasidic Jew will hold a chicken in his hands while praying and his sins are symbolically transferred into the bird atoning the Jew for his sins. The bird is then turned over to another party for slaughter in which the meat is given to feed the poor. Opponents still deride the observance as barbaric and even went so far was to protest the activity. The Daily News reports court affidavits state:
In affidavits, people who live and work in the neighborhoods describe getting sick at the sight of chickens running around with no heads or heads only partially cut off, the stench of blood that permeates the neighborhood for days, the screams of terrified chickens as they are swung through the air or as they smell their future while cooped up in tiny cages.
A Brooklyn Borough Councilmember, Dov Hikind, who represents the area spoke out in the liturgy’s defense saying that what the animal rights group alleges is not true:
“I represent this community. I live here, walk around here, have an office in the heart of the community. And I don’t know what in God’s name they’re talking about. They make it sound like there’s blood running in the streets. It’s just not true,” he said.
Hikind said if some congregations are not careful about sanitation issues, he would “have no problem with police enforcing the laws. But chickens are not being killed on the sidewalks.”
Hikind said it’s against Jewish law to torture animals or cause them pain and he insisted that also doesn’t happen.
Another instance of so-called animal rights groups harassing or trying to intimidate others. In this case they target a religious observance that ultimately benefits the poor. I admit the practice is a bit strange but, as the Brooklyn Assemblyman points out, the chickens used in it are not being killed on the sidewalks nor are they being tortured.