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Animal Rights Activists Rescue Over 200 Animals from Slaughter

January 17, 2020 by Leave a Comment

The News

During the 2019 Kaporos, an annual ritual slaughter that takes place in the days leading up to Yom Kippur, several teams of animal rights activists in New York City rescued 211 chickens who were hours away from being killed in makeshift slaughterhouses erected in Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.  The rescues were organized by the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION).

The activists brought the chickens to a triage center where they provided them with food, water and, in some cases, acute medical care, before transporting them to farm animal sanctuaries around the country. Eight chickens were taken to veterinarians for emergency surgery due to broken wings and other life-threatening injuries.

Jill Carnegie with the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos transports a rescue to the triage site.

Jill Carnegie, the Campaign Strategist for the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and an organizer of the rescues, said that the number of chickens who activists rescued was determined by the space available in farm animal sanctuaries: “We spent several months securing quality homes for the chickens. Since Cornish Cross birds are some of the most genetically-altered animals, they require specialized care. Each year, we can only rescue the number of chickens we can confirm homes for to avoid a potentially catastrophic scenario; we put in many hours of placement work so that we can save as many lives as possible. We wish we could have saved more.”

Activists estimate that over 100,000 chickens are trucked into the city and stored in crates on the street for up to several days with no food or water

With an estimated 300,000 Hasidic Jews in New York City, activists believe that well over 100,000 chickens are used and killed each year. During Kaporos in 2019, thousands of chickens died of hunger, thirst, sickness and heat exhaustion in the crates where they were being stored before the ritual even began.

During Kaporos, hundreds of activists provide watermelon and water to thousands of chickens stacked in crates on the streets of Crown Heights, Williamsburg and Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York

During Kaporos, practitioners swing six-week old chickens around their heads while reciting a prayer to symbolically transfer their sins to the animal.  The vast majority of the chickens are then killed in open-air slaughterhouses, leaving the streets contaminated with their blood, body parts, feces and feathers.  In 2015, an attorney suing the City on behalf of area residents hired a toxicologist to test the contaminants. In his report, Dr. Michael McCabe concluded that Kaporos “constitutes a dangerous condition and poses a significant public health hazard.”

Mayor de Blasio’s Health Commissioners have refused to address a toxicology report that outlines the risk posed by the mass slaughter of over 100,000 animals on public streets during Kaporos.

Advocates have, on multiple occasions, sent the toxicology report to Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the head of Infectious Disease Control at the NYC Department of Health, and to Drs. Oxiris Barbot and Mary Bassett, the City’s current and former health commissioners.  Activists speculate that they have refused to acknowledge the correspondence because they could be liable if and when a disease outbreak does occur. Nora Constance Marino Esq., the attorney, argued the case to the State’s highest court — Court of Appeals. In their ruling in 2018, the six judges wrote that city agencies have discretion with respect to the laws they choose to enforce.

During Kaporos, over 100,000 chickens are slaughtered on public streets in residential neighborhoods in Brooklyn, exposing area residents to E. coli, campylobacter and many other pathogens and toxins

In recent years, resistance to the use of live chickens has been building in the Hasidic Jewish communities. In discussions with animal protection advocates, many Kaporos practitioners have acknowledged that the mass commercialization of the ritual has led to systemic abuses that violate “Tza’ar ba’alei chayim,” a Jewish commandment that bans causing animals unnecessary suffering.

“As long as this cruel ritual slaughter takes place, we will continue rescuing as many of the victims as we can before they are slaughtered,” said Jill Carnegie. “One day, the use of live animals for the ritual will come to an end, either because the Department of Health decides to enforce its own laws in order to prevent the spread of an infectious disease or, more likely, because a disease outbreak occurs.”

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. Joel Stein says:

    Thank you Steven Weiss for being a voice and an advocate against the wanton abuse of innocent birds. We’ll stand together against the ignorant, and until just laws are carried out to prohibit such horrid abuse. Those people bring shame on our Jewish heritage and ethics.

  2. Steven Weiss says:

    “Not participating” is not enough. When we see abuses of animals or humans in our own backyard, we have to step in and advocate on their behalf. Turning a blind eye to death by starvation, thirst, sickness and broken bones is not an option for people who have compassion for all living beings. As you know, subjecting animals to these abuses is a clear violation of “tza’ar ba’alei chayim.” And, as you also know, God would agree because he doesn’t want any of his creatures to be victims of abuse.

  3. Rabbi Beegman says:

    Mr Weiss,

    Like I said to Mr Stein you would have to take that up with God as he decides; not you….and it is very well documented that animal sacrifice will return in the future and was ok in the past, as well as eating as using animal fur. I also realize this website is against anything with animals even eating them or using their fur so it would be a moot point anyway with you folks because it’s a one focus agenda. If you don’t like what’s going on with the ritual and deem it cruel; don’t participate or attend. It’s as simple as that. You have that freedom; as do the participants.

    Good Luck!

    Shabbat Shalom

  4. Steven Weiss says:

    Rabbi Beegman – With all due respect, God would not approve of his creatures being intensively confined in crates for days at a time with no food or water where many of them die before they are even used in the ritual. Sadly, the ones who die soon after their arrival are the lucky ones because the survivors are swung in the air by their fragile wings before their throats are sliced. Is this how God intended for his creatures to be treated? No one would be speaking out if this was being conducted with a backyard chicken, but the mass commercialization of this ritual has rendered it entirely inhumane and incompatible with Jewish law which prohibits unnecessary cruelty to animals.

  5. Rabbi Beegman says:

    Joel Stein as another poster commented here someone who is Jewish would have to also acknowledge that when the 3rd Temple is rebuilt as per Tanakah there will be animal sacrifices again, so you would have to take your position up with God because it comes from him. Good Luck!

  6. Joel Stein says:

    Thank you Sharon Cohen and Wayne Johnson. I stand behind you 1000 per cent for speaking out against kaporos; the vile abuse and torment of innocent birds. Some day, the the torture that pretends to be a religious act will be outlawed and banned. And I hope that day is soon. I am proud to be Jewish, but those sadistic, sick people who traumatize animals bring shame to my heritage.

  7. Eric Mills says:

    Mark Twain had a great line: “Faith is believing in something you know ain’t true.”

  8. Cleopatra Schwartz says:

    the Nazis’ “final solution” to the “Jewish problem” was the deliberate, systematic and mechanized extermination of European Jewry. Hitler’s final solution led to the calculated, premeditated murder of six million Jews and the destruction of thriving Jewish communities across Europe.

    Are you claiming Jews are trying to get rid of Chickens as a “Final Solution”

  9. Fred Gershowitz says:

    You guys are lucky you weren’t arrested for trasspassing and stealing.

  10. Walter Goodman says:

    Great! See you next year!

  11. Joel Stein says:

    What I’m going to protest is ignorance, pain, suffering, and torture. There is no reason on Earth that chickens or any other creature should be subjected to filthy cramped cages in the heat, deprived of water, and to maliciously have their wings and legs broken under the pretext of some idiotic superstition. If you must continue with this ‘religious’ practice and you have the choice of coins to swing around your head then why do you chose a helpless chicken? Is it the blood and gore you want your children to see? Or is some other depraved reason. I chalk it up to ignorance. But, as you said, it is my right to think thusly…and to intervene on the side of weak. Again, go ahead and practice your religion, but keep the vile cruelty out of it. Make sure that your ‘sacrifice’ is comfortable and clean and not subject to wanton torture. Or I suspect that G-d will be very angry.

  12. Walter Goodman says:

    A Jew has a choice to use coins or a Chicken; some Hasidic Jews use coins. That’s their right to chose; just as someone has a right to use a chicken. If you knew anything about Jewish law it’s the safest way to avoid the most pain to the animal; kosher butchers follow this too. And as a Jew you should know that animal sacrifices are part of the Jewish past and future. So again; are you going to Protest your God even though he tells you otherwise?

  13. Joel Stein says:

    Then, according to you, the compassionate Hasidic Jews who speak out against kaporas are also not Jewish. But, then again … maybe they’re the true Jews. They actually follow Judaic Law and do not condone undo suffering of innocent creatures.

  14. Walter Goodman says:

    Joel Why not? Why no answer? As a Jew you could do as you please. That’s America….other Jews respect your choices; do the same. I highly doubtful you are Jewish though…… because as you know the 3rd Temple will be built and animal sacrifices will resume. Are you going to stand outside the Temple with sign protesting God?

  15. Joel Stein says:

    I will not dignify that with a comment. Eventually the law will catch up with you and your cruel practices will be forever banned. In the meantime, I will stand up for the truly weak and innocent who have no voice. I will lend my voice and continue to protest as a Jewish man against kaporos and other vile practices against animals.

  16. Walter Goodman says:

    Joel Stein – Typical remark I would expect from an ignorant; Blaming Jews for their own misfortune and hate against them on their acts. When someone attacks a gay do you blame the person for having gay acts for the reason they were attacked?

  17. Joel Stein says:

    Walter Goodman, if anyone is sick it is you. You, who takes pleasure in animal suffering with your sick ‘animal sacrifice’. The very act itself fuels anti-semitism and divisiveness among our own people. Your ignorance will not allow you draw parallels between man’s horrendous cruelty to animals and man’s inhumanity to man. You go against Judaic laws against cruelty to animals and try to justify it with false righteousness masking as religion. Shame on you. If we are to remain civil, the law of the land will catch up with you and your kind.

  18. Walter Goodman says:

    Joel Stein you are a sick person comparing animal slaughter to the Holocaust; you should be ashamed of yourself. Anyone that says such a thing is an animal themselves. Nobody is asking you to participate….it’s your choice to not participate but “the Holocaust” really? At one of your rallies someone had a sign like that. Do you know what kind of hatred that fuels?

    Ms Nora your argument didn’t work in the courts what makes you think it will work here? Sorry but no laws are being violated and the Jewish community is well within their rights….time to go on to another case.

    You all have a right to feel what you want but with all the Anti-semetic attacks against Jews in the NYC why would you fuel such things as Jews are in cahoots with the mayor and we are a voting block that can’t be stopped. Some of you claim to be Jewish which is even worse.

  19. Joel Stein says:

    That’s how society works? You have rights to animal abuse? Sounds like what Hitler would have said. Jews were considered sub-human according to his laws. According to him and his ‘society’ he had every ‘right’ to do what he did.

  20. Nora says:

    The United States Supreme Court has never ruled that animal sacrifice is a legally protected activity. This routinely misunderstood by the public and press, alike. What the court did rule, in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, 531 [1993] was that if a law is “targeted” towards a particular religious group or act, then that law is not constitutional. In Lukumi, the City of Hialeah enacted an ordinance that specifically targeted a religious activity, which happened to be animal sacrifice within a church, while the killing of animals was legal right out the front door of that church. Thus, the ordinance was deemed a constitutionally invalid. Had the ordinance applied to others beyond those practicing animal sacrifice within the church, it would not have been struck down as targeted. Likewise, in the New York State lawsuit regarding the violation of fifteen laws that takes place during Kaporos, the state’s highest court (Court of Appeals) ruled that the NYPD has “discretion” with respect to the laws that are violated, and if they choose not to issue summonses or effect arrests, the NYPD is within their right to do so. At no time did the court rule that animal sacrifice is legal or constitutionally protected, and if a new mayor or police commissioner were to decide that arrests should be made due to the violations of the laws, they could. Freedom of religion is freedom of belief, not freedom to act, and the United States Supreme court has ruled on this numerous times– you cannot break the law in the name of religion. No one is free to violate the law in the name of religion. In W. Va. State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 643–44 (1943), SCOTUS said, “No well-ordered society can leave to the individuals an absolute right to make final decisions, unassailable by the State, as to everything they will or will not do. The First Amendment does not go so far. Religious faiths, honestly held, do not free individuals from responsibility to conduct themselves obediently to laws which are either imperatively necessary to protect society as a whole from grave and pressingly imminent dangers or which, without any general prohibition, merely regulate time, place or manner of religious activity.”

    -Nora Constance Marino, Esq., Constitutional Attorney

  21. Walter Goodman says:

    The DOH nor NYPD thinks any laws are violated; determining that would be a violation of rights. Sorry Joel and Donny if you don’t like it but it’s a right people have; people don’t agree on homosexuality so should everyone follow one way? No because this is how a just society works.

    Also Donny Boy If you are Jewish you had a poor education; you didn’t learn about Kosher slaughter; eating meat; or animal sacrifices at the Temple and in the desert. What are you going to when the 3rd Temple comes back and animal sacrifices return? Stand outside and protest against your own God? Good luck!

  22. Donny Moss says:

    According to the head lawyer for the DOH, freedom of religion, including the sacrifice of animals, does not give people a free pass to break City and State health and cruelty laws. Of course, the DOH’s hands are tied because they report to the Mayor. As an aside, how much footage of chickens dying in storage crates from hunger, thirst, heat exhaustion and sickness do you need to see before you acknowledge that the mass commercialization of Kaporos has rendered the ritual entirely inhumane? Each year, thousands of animals die in those horrific crates before they’re even used in the ritual. How is all of that suffering acceptable to you? How is that not a violation of Jewish law? In Hebrew school, my teachers and the rabbi drilled into our heads that we must show kindness to our fellow creatures. If I, as a New Yorker, turned a blind eye to this horrific abuse of so many animals, I would be betraying both the animals and my own Jewish values.

  23. Joel Stein says:

    It amazes me that animal sacrifice could be defended or espoused by any civilized person or persons. What is at issue is animal abuse plain and simple…and that is and should be illegal. Some wise people once said that a society is judged by the way they treat their animals. Ironically, those who perpetuate cruelty complain if they themselves become victims of cruelty. There never was and never will be justification for kaporos.

  24. Walter Goodman says:

    Wrong Donnie. The Supreme Court already ruled years ago that animal sacrifice is legal; although it bothers some, people have a right to practice it. All the state courts did was to affirm that the Police and Dept of Health have jurisdiction over the laws. At no time did any judge say Kapparos is illegal nor did they say the NYPD isn’t doing their job. Because of the hatred that has increased taxpayers have to pay to have a heavy Police Presence and barricades to keep rioters from harassing Jews. And yes there were people helping from the community who weren’t Jewish; we thank them. Come next year; protesters stay home

  25. Donny Moss says:

    As you know, the Court did NOT rule that Kaporos activities are legal. In fact, both the Court and the City’s attorney acknowledged that laws are broken. What the judges stated in their ruling is that the City has discretion over which laws to enforce. Anyway, this video is about rescuing some of the victims.

  26. Walter Goodman says:

    Thank you again for spreading more hatred towards the Orthodox Community. The Health Department confirmed there is no hazards and the all the courts ruled there is nothing illegal going on……just because small percentage doesn’t like it; doesn’t make it illegal. your hate propaganda must come to end or the Anti-Semitics will keep on coming.

  27. Joel Stein says:

    We need many more advocates against animal cruelty like the wonderful Hasidic man who spoke out in protest against kaporos. The fight continues until kaporos becomes a thing of the past. Thanks and appreciation to all those involved.

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