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Anti-Kaporos Activists Escalate Campaign Targeting NYC Health Czar Mary Bassett

March 2, 2018 by Leave a Comment

The News

As part of an ongoing campaign to compel New York City to shut down a religious animal sacrifice called Kaporos that takes the lives of 60,000 animals each year, activists staged an evening protest at the home the Commissioner of the NYC Dept. of Health (DOH), Dr. Mary Bassett, who has refused to enforce the seven public health codes that are violated during the ritual.

This was the third protest targeting Dr. Bassett, who has publicly defended the ritual, saying “there is no evidence that the use of chickens for Kaporos poses a significant risk to human health.”  Her assertion contradicts the findings of an 24-page toxicology report which states that Kaporos with chickens exposes NYC residents to bacteria and viral disease. In her limited communications with activists, Dr. Bassett has not addressed the fact that health codes are broken.

NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett turns a blind eye to seven health code violations. (photo: Unparalleled Suffering Photography)

“Mary Bassett knows that sacrificing animals on a mass scale on public streets endangers the health of New Yorkers,” said Nathan Semmel, an organizer in the campaign to shut down Kaporos. “We can only speculate that she is prioritizing politics over public health because the ultra-Orthodox Jews who commit these atrocities represent one of NYC’s most powerful voting blocs.”

During Kaporos, ultra-Orthodox Jews swing live chickens around their heads in a symbolic transfer of their sins to the animals prior to the Jewish day of atonement, Yom Kippur. After the ritual, the chickens are killed in pop-up slaughterhouses and stuffed into garbage bags which are hauled away by the NYC Dept. of Sanitation.

During the Kaporos ritual, practitioners say a prayer to transfer their sins to a chicken before the Jewish day of atonement, Yom Kippur

Among the many reasons why activists are working to shut down the ritual is the fact that tens of thousands of chickens are intensively confined in crates for up to several days with no food, water or protection from weather extremes. In 2017, activists found garbage bags stuffed with thousands of chickens who died from exposure before they were even used in the ritual.

After their throats are sliced, the chickens are bled out in cones. Activists have documented hundreds of bleeding chickens jumping out of the cones. (photo: Unparalleled Suffering Photography)

The evening protest at Dr. Bassett’s home came on the heels of three other protests –– one during the day at her home and around her neighborhood; one during a presentation she made at Columbia University; and one in the lobby of the headquarters of the DOH. Activists have vowed to continue disrupting business as usual until the DOH enforces the public health codes.

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. S. Blaustein says:

    You are misrepresenting what happened. The women in the audience would be offended if they knew they were being characterized as “traumatized” by the two or three minute non-violent protest staged by other women. The video footage taken by the protest participants shows the women in the audience recording the protest with their smart phones; laughing at the disruption or watching with interest. The protesters did not misrepresent themselves when they signed up; they did not eat the food; and they in no way destroyed the event which continued just a few minutes after the protest started. Of course, women (and men) will continue to disrupt events sponsored by the NYC Department of Health until the city agency stops jeopardizing the health of New Yorkers by aiding and abetting in the illegal torture and massacre of 60,000 baby animals whose blood, body parts and feces contaminate the streets of Brooklyn for a week.

  2. Sad state of affairs says:

    I can appreciate freedom of speech but this group disrespected a safe space when they came to a women summit and disrupted an educational program with no regard for the needs of the participates who so traveled hours to get too. They misrepresented themselves when they signed up for the free event and then had the Nerve to come in eat food that was free and then disrupt a health efucation presentations. Because these protesters were so self absorbed in their own privilidge they didn’t realize that what they did traumatized many other women in the audience that day. As I said I totally agree with the 1st amendment of freedom of speech and I would never tell anyone not to share how they feel about a situation But not at the cost of damaging others who were really in need of the information that was trying to be shared

  3. Zizi says:

    Thank you Donny for continuing to shine the spotlight on a hideous and primitive ritual, which has long been rejected by a majority of Jews. The very idea that one could or should “symbolically” pass their sins on to another innocent living being, a “scapegoat”, so to speak, should be rejected by anyone familiar with the scapegoating of Jews throughout history.
    There can be no justification whatsoever, either by the ignorant fools who blindly follow what is religious “custom”/”tradition” or by the Department of Health and other City agencies that are turning a blind eye and refusing to enforce the laws!
    Keep up the great work, by educating the public – NY’ers, and people throughout the US and around the world! Light will, in the end, overcome the darkness of cruelty and ignorance.

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