Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time


Activists Around the World Protest Hindu, Muslim & Jewish Animal Sacrifice

October 13, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Tis the season to sacrifice animals for God, and activists around the world are rallying on behalf of the victims. Their protests are peaceful, and their message is simple: “Scripture doesn’t mandate sacrifice. Please use an alternative to animals.”

During the Gadhimai festival in Nepal, which takes place once every five years, Hindus slaughter about 500,000 animals, including buffalo, pigs, goats, chickens and pigeons. The sacrifice is made in honor of Gadhimai, the goddess of power, who “brings prosperity” to those who participate.

Gadhimai Festival (photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Gadhimai Festival (photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Animal Welfare Network Nepal, which staged a 50 person protest in Kathmandu on Sunday in advance of the mass animal slaughter, said, “We want to show that religious activities can be carried out without causing harm to animals.” According to the group, activists protested the festival in 24 countries. In the following video, one practitioner says, “I am praying to Gadhimai that my name becomes big in the engineering field.”

During Bakra Eid (Festival of the Sacrifice) on October 4th and 5th, Muslims slaughtered cows, camels, goats, sheep and rams  to honor Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to God.

In India, a Muslim woman from PETA, who promoted vegetarianism near the site of the slaughter, was mobbed by angry worshippers and arrested for “outraging religious feelings.” Dozens of media outlets reported on the incident, which brought her message of peace into millions of homes around the world.

Peaceful protester attacked for promoting vegetarianism

Peaceful protester attacked for promoting vegetarianism

Before Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, some sects of ultra-orthodox Jews transfer their sins to chickens by swinging them around their heads and slaughtering them. Protests in Brooklyn, where over 70,000 of hungry, dehydrated and weak chickens are killed each year, received international media attention.

In all three religions, practitioners invoke the name of God while killing her creatures. Attempting to counter “God said we should do this” with messages about compassion feels like a losing battle, but raising awareness, lobbying decision makers and shining an international spotlight on the abuse will slowly chip away at these barbaric religious rituals.

Your Turn

Please sign the following petitions:

1. Petition to stop animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai festival in Nepal

2. Petition to urge enforcement of laws being broken by Kaporos (chicken swinging) practitioners in New York


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Activist Arrested for Liberating Chickens; Hundreds of Others Found Dead

September 30, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Kaporos, the annual chicken-swinging ritual that takes place before Yom Kippur, doesn’t start until Tuesday night, but, already, an activist has been arrested, and hundreds of chickens stacked in crates on the street have died.

Activist Arrested (photo: Yeshiva World News)

Activist Arrested (photo: Yeshiva World News)

Wearing a Mercy For Animals t-shirt, an activist from New Jersey was arrested on Monday for allegedly stealing chickens from a “Kaporos Center” in Brooklyn. Authorities found the liberated chickens in his vehicle. Sadly, these animals, who had a brief taste of freedom in the back of a van, will most likely be used in the Kaporos ritual and then slaughtered.

Liberated chickens are free no more (photo: Yeshiva World News)

Liberated chickens are free no more (photo: Yeshiva World News)

In a separate incident, Brooklyn resident Rina Deych, a founding member of the advocacy group working to end the chicken-swinging ritual, made the grisly discovery of hundreds of dead chickens stacked in crates, and she took footage with the hope that authorities would charge the perpetrators with animal cruelty.

stacked chickens kaporos2

Ms. Deych suspects that the chickens, who are deprived of food and water for several days, died of dehydration: “We just witnessed hundreds, possibly thousands of chickens dead in crates in Brooklyn. We called the police, but they would not take our report. NYPD is supposed to respond to animal cruelty and neglect cases.”

stacked chickens kaporos1

Ms. Deych’s video documentation of dead and dying chickens:

Your Turn

If you live in or near NYC, please attend one or more of the three anti-chicken swinging protests organized by the Alliance to End Chickens for Kaporos. The protests take place from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Brooklyn, New York.

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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.

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