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Neighbors Lash Out as New Yorkers Protest at Home of Health Commissioner Mary Bassett Over Mass Animal Sacrifice

April 17, 2018 by 6 comments


The News

After months of being stonewalled by NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, New Yorkers advocating for a ban on a ritual animal sacrifice that violates seven public health codes have taken their plea to her front doorstep. While many of Commissioner Bassett’s neighbors have expressed their support for the protests, others are lashing out:

“We’re surprised by the rage expressed of some of Commissioner Bassett’s neighbors because we are protesting for just 1.5 hours every few weeks without any sound amplification,” said Linda Mann, an activist who participated in the protest.

NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett watches from her window as New Yorkers protest her ongoing refusal to enforce the health codes violated during a mass animal sacrifice called Kaporos

During the animal sacrifice, which is called Kaporos, ultra-Orthodox Jews swing live chickens around their heads while saying a prayer to transfer their sins to the chicken. After the ritual, the chickens’ throats are sliced in one of the approximately 30 pop-up slaughterhouses erected for the ritual on public streets.

“The chickens, who are just six weeks old, are held in crates for several days with no food or water,” said Rina Deych, a Brooklyn resident who lives in a neighborhood where chickens are killed and bled out into the streets. “In 2017, thousands of these babies slowly died from starvation, thirst and heat exhaustion before they were even used in the ritual, and their bodies were stuffed into garbage bags and dumped onto the sidewalk.”

In 2015, The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and 19 NYC residents sued the Department of Health and the NYPD for failing to enforce the 15 public health, sanitation and anti-cruelty laws and regulations that are violated during Kaporos. The plaintiffs are asking the judges to mandate that the city agencies enforce the laws. The case is pending at the Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in the state of New York.

Public health and animal rights activists protest at the home of NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett who defends a mass animal sacrifice that violates multiple public health codes.

In response to the activists pleas, Commissioner Bassett issued a two sentence statement defending the practice. The statement makes no reference to health code violations or the toxicology report submitted to the court that states that Kaporos jeopardizes public health by exposing New Yorkers to e-coli, salmonella and many other toxins and pathogens.

In a letter to advocates, NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett dismisses the toxicology report that states that killing 60,000 animals on public sidewalks poses a public health risk to New Yorkers.


See How Onlookers React to 2018 Veggie Pride Parade in NYC

April 11, 2018 by 2 comments


The News

As hundreds of New Yorkers took to the streets to march in the 2018 Veggie Pride Parade, many onlookers spoke on camera, giving their honest feedback about the parade and its message.


Absence of NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett Didn’t Stop Activists From Protesting Her Event

April 3, 2018 by 4 comments


The News

NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett didn’t show up to deliver the opening remarks at a Women’s Health Summit in Brooklyn, but that didn’t stop 20 activists from disrupting her stand-in after Bassett’s pre-recorded video greeting was played for attendees.

The activists disrupted the summit over Commissioner Bassett’s ongoing refusal to enforce the seven public health codes violated during an annual ritual animal sacrifice called Kaporos during which 60,000 chickens are swung in the air by their fragile wings and killed in illegal pop-up slaughterhouses on public streets. The blood, body parts and feces of thousands of dead and dying chickens contaminate the streets in several Brooklyn neighborhoods for up to a week each year.

Public health and animal rights activists join forces to protest NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett over her refusal to shut down an illegal animal sacrifice called Kaporos

“We are so desperate for Commissioner Bassett to shut down this illegal and barbaric massacre that we are willing to protest any event sponsored by NYC Department of Health, even if Bassett doesn’t show up for fear of protests,” said Nicole Fernandez, a Brooklyn-based health care provider who participated in the disruption at the Women’s Health Summit.

Two dozen women protest NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett at a Women’s Health Summit, demanding that she enforce public health codes around ritual animal sacrifice

In 2015, The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and 19 NYC residents sued the NYC Department of Health and the NYPD for failing to enforce the 15 public health, sanitation and anti-cruelty laws and regulations that are violated during Kaporos. The case centers on whether or not courts can mandate that the police enforce the laws that are violated during Kaporos.  The case is pending at the Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in the state of New York.

Dr. Mary Bassett refuses to enforce the seven health codes that are violated when ultra-Orthodox Jews slaughter 60,000 chickens in pop-up slaughterhouses on NYC streets.

While many New Yorkers working on this effort are motivated by the public health risks, others are motivated by the animal cruelty. “I joined the fight because, in 2017, I watched helplessly as thousands of chickens in cramped crates died a slow and agonizing death from starvation and thirst,” said Jaylene Lopez, a Brooklyn native. “I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do everything in my power to stop this atrocity from happening again.”

The NY Daily News reports on a protest targeting NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett in the lobby of the Department of Health headquarters in Queens


Animal Rights Activists Disrupt U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s Fundraiser

April 2, 2018 by 2 comments


The News

Animal rights activists staged a protest both inside and outside of U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s campaign fundraiser over her ongoing refusal to call off her $50 million plan to lease pandas from China and put them on display in New York City.

“Pandas are wild animals who exist for their own purposes,” said Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of the animal rights group NYCLASS. “They should live freely in the bamboo forests of China, not in a display case in Manhattan.”

Animal rights activists protest U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney over her $50M plan to display pandas in Manhattan

In addition to opposing animal captivity for human entertainment, the activists argue that the Chinese breeding facility from which the pandas will be leased are merely money-making panda mills and that renting pandas fuels the market for captive pandas while doing nothing to conserve pandas in their natural habitat. 

Caretakers at the Chengdu panda breeding facility, the panda mill from which Carolyn Maloney plans to lease pandas, were caught on camera physically abusing panda cubs.

In February 2017, Congresswomen Maloney and her two billionaire backers, John Catsimatidis and Maurice Greenberg, held a “Black & White Panda Ball” at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to raise money for the project, which is estimated to cost $50 million.  The gala raised approximately $500,000. Her charity, The Pandas are Coming to NYC, continues to raise money.

Animal rights activists in NYC say that displaying wild pandas in an enclosure in Manhattan would be inhumane

In June, 2017, the NYC Council voted to pass a bill to ban the use of exotic animals in performances following an 11 year campaign waged by animal rights activists and supportive lawmakers.  Lawyers are reviewing the language in this bill to see if and how it would affect the display of pandas in an exhibit akin to a roadside zoo.

Your Turn

Please sign the Care2 petition asking U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney to call off her plan to import pandas into NYC for display.

Follow No Panda Prison NYC on Facebook.


NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett Abandons Presentation During Animal Sacrifice Protest

March 29, 2018 by 2 comments


The News

As 25 activists stormed into the New York Academy of Medicine to disrupt a presentation she was making, NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett collected her coat and exited the building, leaving event organizers and attendees visibly stunned.  This was the third time in recent months that activists have shut down one of Mary Bassett’s presentations.

The activists are protesting Commissioner Bassett over her refusal to enforce the seven or more public health codes that are broken during a ritual animal sacrifice called Kaporos. During Kaporos, ultra-Orthodox Jews recite a prayer to transfer their sins to live chickens before Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. While reciting the prayer, practitioners swing the chickens around their heads three times by their fragile wings and then bring them to a slaughterer who slices their throats in illegal pop-up slaughterhouses. Each year, practitioners sacrifice an estimated 60,000 chickens, the majority of whom are bled out into the streets before being thrown in the garbage.

Activists shut down NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett’s presentation at the NY Academy of Medicine

Some of the activists who participate in the disruptions are motivated by the public health risks because the  streets and sidewalks near their homes are contaminated with the blood, body parts and feces of thousands of dead and dying chickens.

Mary Bassett, the Commissioner of the NYC Dept. of Health, refuses to enforce the the health codes that are violated during a ritual animal sacrifice called Kaporos. (photo: Unparalleled Suffering Photography)

Other activists who are participating in this campaign are motivated by animal cruelty. Before being swung in the air and slaughtered, the chickens are held in crates for up to several days with no food, water or protection from weather extremes. In 2017, activists documented thousands of chickens who died in their crates from starvation, thirst and exposure before the ritual sacrifice took place.

The blood, body parts and feces of thousands of chickens contaminate the streets for several days, which, according to a toxicology report, jeopardizes the health of people who live in the neighborhoods where the ritual sacrifice takes place.

Activists speculate that Commissioner Bassett condones the practice, in spite of the health code violations and a toxicology report outlining the public health risks, because ultra-Orthodox Jews represent one of the most powerful voting blocs in NYC.

Kaporos practitioners swing live chickens in the air by their fragile wings and then slaughter them on public streets

In response to media inquiries, Dr. Bassett’s office puts out the following statement:  “We have not found Kaporos to be a significant public health threat — our surveillance has shown no increase in illness — and this ritual is an important practice for some Orthodox Jews.”

Activists protest Mary Bassett in front of her home over her refusal to enforce the seven health codes violated during the annual Kaporos massacre of 60,000 chickens in NYC.

In 2015, The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and 19 NYC residents sued the NYC Department of Health and the NYPD for failing to enforce the 15 public health, sanitation and anti-cruelty laws and regulations that are violated during Kaporos. The case centers on whether or not courts can mandate that the police enforce the laws that are violated during Kaporos. According to the plaintiffs’ complaint, the police are not only ignoring the violations, but they are also “aiding and abetting” in the crimes by providing the ritual practitioners with flood lights, barricades, security and the orange cones in which the chickens are bled out. 

Activists have vowed to escalate the campaign targeting Commissioner Bassett and her staff if she doesn’t enforce her own agency’s regulations.