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

April 3, 2018 by Leave a Comment

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

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. mary blan says:

    Will these same folks go to 1 police plaza and demand commissioner whatever his name to do his job……women who year for women’s health many WOC are again attacked by whyte women re-centering themselves……and to this I post……/why-so-many-white-supremacists…

  2. Deborah says:

    Those 20 women who participated in the protest at the Womens Summit should be ashamed of their behavior and lack of respect for the over 200 Women who came to the Summit to find a safe space to learn about women’s health and address their own health and wellness.
    DOHMH may have been a one of the sponsors of the event but many community based organizations and their staff spent months working to create an event that was a safe space for women to feel comfortable enough to share their struggles and stories addressing their experiences with feeling of being marginalized, stigmatized and feelings of being invisible in their daily lives.

    We all agree that freedom of speech is important and necessary and by no means am I suggesting that they do not have the right to express their concerns but not at the cost of reinforcing some of these womens feelings of not being worthy enough to deserve an event free of being hijacked by selfish women who used their privilege to push their own agenda.

    In the future my hope is these 20 woman and their movement would pick their location and events with a bit more care for whom may be impacted by their protests.
    As women we should be taking care of one another not creating situations that create triggering and unsafe spaces and make one another feel their issues are not important enough to be respected.

  3. Doris Roemer says:


  4. Terry says:

    Donny –

    You are doing a great job. I’m thinking, and hoping, in the end it will pay off.

    You may already have seen this video of a Hasidic rabbi condemning the use of chickens in Kaporos:

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