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Germany’s Decision to Affirm Legality of Male Chick Shredding Shines Global Spotlight on Practice

June 10, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

The German parliament recently voted against a Green Party bill that would have banned the practice of killing newborn male chicks in the egg industry. According to a spokesman from the ruling Christian Democratic Union Party, the decision was made out of fear that “…animal production will move to another country.” A high court affirmed this decision, arguing that German law allows the killing of animals if it can be justified economically and that chick shredding is “…part of the process for providing the population with eggs and meat.” An agricultural minister from Northern Germany disagreed with the decision, stating “We must finally stop treating animals like garbage.”

Since male chicks cannot lay eggs or be profitably raised for meat, they are usually killed within hours of hatching. The most common methods are grinding them up alive (maceration), gassing, electrocution or suffocation by stuffing them into garbage bags. In Germany, approximately 40 million newborn male chicks are killed every year. Worldwide, the number is estimated to be 2.5 billion.

Two widely used methods of male chick culling are maceration and suffocation.

Two widely used methods of male chick culling are maceration and suffocation.

“If killing millions of newborns doesn’t violate the animal protection laws of a country widely perceived as being on the forefront of animal welfare reform, then one can only imagine what farm animal practices are legal in countries like the U.S.,” said Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns, a national advocacy group that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. “It is thus interesting that the U.S. egg industry trade group, United Egg Producers (UEP), has just announced it will, by 2020, replace the killing of newborn male chicks with ‘in-ovo egg sexing,’ a process in which the sex of chicks is identified before they develop inside of their eggs.”

UEP’s announcement was made in response to a campaign by The Humane League, a national animal advocacy organization that works to protect animals through public education, campaigns and rescue.

In response to the news, Davis said, “While in-ovo chick sexing must surely be less inhumane than the mass-extermination of fully developed chicks, it does not eliminate the inherent cruelty of commercial egg production.”

Israeli animal rights activists occupy a chick hatchery and shuts down a macerator in the process of grinding newborn male chicks.

Israeli animal rights activists occupy a chick hatchery and shuts down a macerator in the process of grinding newborn male chicks.

The practice of chick shredding has generated tremendous controversy worldwide in recent years. In June, 2015, Israeli animal rights activists occupied a hatchery and shut off a macerator that was grinding newborn chicks. When police arrived at the scene,  activist Tal Gilboa challenged an officer, saying “I want to see you, as a human being regardless of your uniform, cop or no cop, turn on the power supply.” The video of this act of civil disobedience was viewed over two million times on Facebook.

Your Turn

To learn more about The Humane League’s successful campaign to end the mass killing of male chicks in the egg industry, please visit the organization’s blog post about its victory.

To learn more about the plight of chickens in the egg industry, please visit United Poultry Concerns.


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Hundreds Gather in California for Conscious Eating Conference

April 14, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

In March, several hundred people came together in Berkeley, California, for the annual Conscious Eating Conference. Throughout the day, advocates, authors and philosophers from around the country made presentations about the ethics of eating and how food choices impact animals, human health and the planet. To view and share the full presentations, please visit  United Poultry Concerns.

The David Brower Center in Berkeley was filled to capacity with several hundred attendees.

Hope Bohanec of United Poultry Concerns

Hope Bohanec of United Poultry Concerns

During the breaks, attendees visited the booths of animal advocacy groups, animal sanctuaries, authors  and vegan companies.

The 2016 Conscious Eating Conference featured exhibitors from around the country

The 2016 Conscious Eating Conference featured exhibitors from around the country

Your Turn

United Poultry Concerns is a national advocacy group that “promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.” To learn more about UPC and to support their work, please visit their website.


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Bloodshed in Brooklyn – Video from the Final Night

October 2, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

After spending several days stuffed in crates with no food or water, tens of thousands of chickens were swung in the air and slaughtered during the final night of Kaporos, the Yom Kippur ritual of transferring one’s sins to a live chicken.

Ritual practitioners line up to slaughter sin-filled chickens

Ritual practitioners line up to slaughter sin-filled chickens

Slaughter in the streets of Brooklyn

Slaughter in the streets of Brooklyn

Following is a short video of the chaotic scene during the final hours of the ritual – the chickens, the butchers and the ritual practitioners debating the protesters.

In a bit of irony, a Mitzvah (good deed) mobile was parked near slaughter tent

In a bit of irony, a Mitzvah (good deed) mobile was parked near slaughter tent

Opinion

Protesters clash with Kaporos practitioners

Protesters clash with Kaporos practitioners

By and large, the practitioners cannot relate to the protesters' concerns about the chickens

By and large, the practitioners cannot relate to the protesters’ concerns about the chickens

The 2014 Yom Kippur street protests are over, but the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos will, throughout the year, continue its fight to outlaw this barbaric ritual. Because of its size and voting power, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is very powerful, but, through legal strategies, outreach to sympathetic rabbis, public relations and education, the Alliance is convinced that the chickens will ultimately prevail.


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Lawyers File Emergency Order to Shut Down Chicken Swinging (New Video)

October 1, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Lawyers for the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos filed an emergency order with the City of New York arguing that the swinging and slaughtering of tens of thousands of chickens in the street should be shut down because the ritual causes immediate, irreversible damage to public health and violates animal cruelty and sanitation laws. A judge is expected to issue a decision on Wednesday.

Following is a one minute video of the ritual taken on Tuesday, the first of three days of chicken swinging that lead up to Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement.

On Tuesday night, a few dozen activists clashed with hundreds of Orthodox Jews who were “transferring their sins” to live chickens while swinging them around their heads. The activists were contained in a pen and were surrounded by Kaporos practitioners who are always eager to debate.

Protesters & chicken swingers square off

Protesters & chicken swingers square off

This barbaric scene that takes place year after year is heart-breaking for activists, but the community has hope. Karen Davis, the founder of United Poultry Concerns and who traveled from Virginia to participate, says: “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.”

Kaporos

Thousands of chickens will be held in crates for several day with no food or water

Animal rescuers, including Jenny Brown from the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, were on hand to save as many chickens as possible and transport them to sanctuaries to live out their natural lives in the company of with hundreds of other farm animals who escaped from slaughter.

Woodstock tends to injured chicken rescued from Kaporos

Woodstock tends to injured chicken rescued from Kaporos

Your Turn

Please sign the Change.org petition urging NYC to enforce the laws being broken by Kaporos practitioners.


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Activist Arrested for Liberating Chickens; Hundreds of Others Found Dead

September 30, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Kaporos, the annual chicken-swinging ritual that takes place before Yom Kippur, doesn’t start until Tuesday night, but, already, an activist has been arrested, and hundreds of chickens stacked in crates on the street have died.

Activist Arrested (photo: Yeshiva World News)

Activist Arrested (photo: Yeshiva World News)

Wearing a Mercy For Animals t-shirt, an activist from New Jersey was arrested on Monday for allegedly stealing chickens from a “Kaporos Center” in Brooklyn. Authorities found the liberated chickens in his vehicle. Sadly, these animals, who had a brief taste of freedom in the back of a van, will most likely be used in the Kaporos ritual and then slaughtered.

Liberated chickens are free no more (photo: Yeshiva World News)

Liberated chickens are free no more (photo: Yeshiva World News)

In a separate incident, Brooklyn resident Rina Deych, a founding member of the advocacy group working to end the chicken-swinging ritual, made the grisly discovery of hundreds of dead chickens stacked in crates, and she took footage with the hope that authorities would charge the perpetrators with animal cruelty.

stacked chickens kaporos2

Ms. Deych suspects that the chickens, who are deprived of food and water for several days, died of dehydration: “We just witnessed hundreds, possibly thousands of chickens dead in crates in Brooklyn. We called the police, but they would not take our report. NYPD is supposed to respond to animal cruelty and neglect cases.”

stacked chickens kaporos1

Ms. Deych’s video documentation of dead and dying chickens:

Your Turn

If you live in or near NYC, please attend one or more of the three anti-chicken swinging protests organized by the Alliance to End Chickens for Kaporos. The protests take place from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Brooklyn, New York.


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