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Renewed Efforts to Stop Chicken-Swinging Ritual During Yom Kippur

September 23, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, hundreds of thousands of observant Jews across the world partake in Kaporos, a religious ritual in which participants swing live chickens around their heads while saying a prayer to transfer their sins to the animals. After the ceremony, a ritual slaughterer cuts their throats and stuffs them into inverted cones, garbage bags or dumpsters where they bleed to death, taking the sins with them.

Kaporos Chicken Swinging Ritual

photo: Carol Guzy, The Washington Post

Each year, dozens of activists protest at Kaporos sites in Brooklyn, which is home to tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews. During the protests, activists plead with participants to perform the ritual with coins intend of live chickens, an option offered in Jewish scripture. The participants argue that live chickens must be used, according to God.

Photo: Carol Guzy, The Washington Post

Activists & Participants, Face-to-Face (Photo: Carol Guzy)

What angers and mobilizes activists is not only the barbaric ritual but also the conditions in which the animals are held for days. Stuffed into milk crates, the chickens are unable to move and are deprived of food, water, protection from the elements and the ability to clean off the urine and feces of the chickens stacked above them. It is in this weakened state that participants grab them by their fragile wings, often breaking them, and perform the ritual.

Chickens immobilized in crates; no food or water

Chickens immobilized for days in crates; no food or water

This 2 minute clip shows the ritual and the protests:

In 2010, Kaporos supporters vandalized the home of Rina Deych, a founding member of the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos. Ms. Deych argues that the ritual “violates Jewish mandates and imperatives” and that, “each year, more and more Orthodox rabbis are speaking out against using chickens.”

Rina Deych home

Rina Deych in front of Her vandalized home

Your Turn

The Alliance to End Chicken as Kaporos has been working since 2010 to eliminate the barbaric ritual through education and protests and by begging for mercy. This year, they have employed a new approach — petitioning the local government to enforce the health codes that would shut down Kaporos and stop the river of blood from flowing in the streets. Please sign the petition.

To learn more about Kaporos, please read this article by Karen Davis, the Founder of United Poultry Concerns, who travels each year from Virginia to New York to help lead the Kaporos protests.

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. Tierra Chapman says:

    ‘Custom will reconcile people to ANY atrocity.’ ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Our species is LONG OVERDUE to come out of the Dark Ages and into the 21st century with our thinking AND our treatment of non-human beings. ALL non-human beings, including chickens. Animals are not ours to exploit and brutalize! Those who practice sadism under the guise of religious delusion should no longer get a free pass under the law – animal abuse should not be permitted in any civilized society! Yet ‘crazy’ wins again – this time…. Shame on this!!!

  2. Vicki Zaremba says:

    Whoever treats any animals cruelly is a sadist. It is inhumane . All that is accomplished is adding more to your lists of sins. I don’t care, your religion, race . You are not even human if you do this! Go ahead and hug your family and babies with your filthy hands and tell them how proud you are in your manliness to torture a poor innocent animal to death. Aren’t you just so brave. You are less than pig shit to me! Vicki Zaremba

  3. Ena Sanchez says:

    G-d says love all animals and G-d says no more sacrifice. How can this be justified to you what makes this animal less then you? Please use something not an innocent animal that has done nothing to you. As a Jew this shames me.

  4. Arianne Bär says:

    All animal deserves to become respect and a good secure living on earth. Everyone how done it different will see how the future hit it back.

  5. Erick says:

    Every year when this comes up I’m appalled. This is the most ridiculous ritual and to say it is done in the name of religion is a joke.

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