Lawsuit to Stop Kaporos Torture

David Cassuto

I could not be more proud of my former  student and research assistant, Jessica Astrof, for leading the legal battle on this!

The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos along with 20 additional plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court New York to issue an injunction against Hasidic rabbis and synagogues in Brooklyn from participating in “Kaporos,” a highly controversial religious custom which involves the confinement, torture and barbaric slaughter of kaporosmore than 50,000 chickens on public streets every year during the week preceding the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. The case also names the NYPD, NYC Department of Health and the City of New York for failing to enforce city health laws and animal cruelty laws, among others. The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos was formed in New York City in 2010 as a project of, and under the umbrella of, United Poultry Concerns, founded by Karen Davis, Ph.D. Kaporos using live chickens is also practiced in other cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Los Angeles. See 2014 Brooklyn Kaporos video here:


The 21 plaintiffs are a group of individuals and residents of the subject locations who have endured the inconvenience, nuisance, filth, stench, public health risk and emotional trauma involved in Kaporos for years. Each plaintiff is gravely concerned about the health risks in their community, the contaminants on the streets and sidewalks and the emotional trauma caused by the bloody animal violence they are forced to witness. 


Kaporos is allegedly a ritual of atonement practiced by Hasidic Jews as part of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The ritual involves practitioners grasping live chickens by their wings and swinging them above the practitioners’ heads. The purpose of this act, followed by the slaughter, is allegedly to transfer the practitioners’ sins and punishment to the birds, allegedly absolving the participants of their sins. In order to conduct the slaughter of the birds, Kaporos involves the erection of make-shift slaughterhouses on the public streets and sidewalks of the City of New York.  Dead chickens, half dead chickens, chicken blood, chicken feathers, chicken urine, chicken feces, other toxins and garbage such as used latex gloves and filthy tarps consume the public streets.  There is no oversight and no remedy for cleanup.  Plaintiffs maintain that operating such illegal public slaughterhouses causes and creates a public nuisance, a public health risk, a public health hazard and a dangerous condition.   Continue reading

Some Further Thoughts on Gadhimai

Sandra Mekita

Tibetan Volunteers for Animals has joined forces with other animal rights activists to petition the Nepalese government to stop the slaughter of a half a million animals during a “Gadhimai” festival on November 24th and 25th.  This festival is considered the world’s largest animal sacrifice. The animals slaughtered are generally: goats, buffaloes, ducks, roosters and pigeons.

The activists say that they are sensitive to the devotees needs but they feel that the sacrifice is unnecessary suffering. The Nepalese government is concerned about impinging on the sentiments of the devotees. (Sound familiar?)

Although, I, personally, don’t subscribe to organized religion, I have always been under the belief that exercising one’s own religious beliefs is essential to the traditions that this country is firmly grounded. However, religion is something that can be molded, changed, and broken down over time. Essentially, religions are adaptable. For example, the Vatican has come up with modern “sins” to keep the religion current and applicable to people in modern times.

Animal Sacrifice is a barbaric ritual, something used during the same time human sacrifice was being practiced. Animal sacrifice can be traced back to the Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, Ancient Romans, Aztecs and the Yorubas. Many have banned this practice centuries ago.

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A Goat in Sheep’s Clothing

Kate Blacker

The city of Euless, Texas outlaws killing four-legged animals.  Santeria priest Jose Merced was personally informed about this rule back in 2006 when police knocked on his door and prohibited him from ritually sacrificing a goat.

Speaking as an animal lover and as a vegan, I think this story sounds pretty good.  But there’s more.

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