"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


Concern for Chickens Used in Kapparot

As part of teshuvah during the High Holidays season, Jews traditionally participate in a ritual called kapparot. Although it is fully acceptable to perform kapparot using money, some Orthodox Jews insist on waving chickens above their heads instead. The chickens are then slaughtered, and their flesh is often fed to poor people. In large-scale kapparot operations, chickens have often been observed confined to tiny spaces and denied food or water for many hours at a time.

The Jerusalem government is trying to cut back on animal welfare abuses related to kapparot in that city, and the Masorti (Conservative) movement is taking a stand against the use of chickens for kapparot in Israel. In Brooklyn, N.Y., one videographer captured footage of chickens in cramped conditions on Monday and PETA will distribute and post "Gelt, Not Guilt" flyers later today.

  • On Friday, Failed Messiah posted a Matzav article announcing that Jerusalem's "business license, inspection and Veterinary Services bureau" would be cracking down on kapparot operations because of animal welfare considerations. The article explained, "Last year trucks were seen 'reusing' chickens. Also, after pledging to shecht them, some birds were left in the streets and tossed into trash bins and dumpsters. To rectify the situation this year kapporos will have to meet Veterinary Services requirements ...."
  • On Monday, The Jerusalem Post reported, "The Masorti (Conservative) Movement will join forces with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - Tel Aviv to fight against the Jewish custom known as kapparot that involves slaughtering chickens as a way of atonement for sin." Yesterday, a Jewschool post noted, "I’m not sure what the Masorti movement thinks it will accomplish ... [s]ince the parts of the community that are practicing kapores aren’t the parts likely to care what the [M]asorti movement does, but all in all, it can’t hurt."
  • In Boro Park, N.Y., on Monday, vegetarian advocate Rina Deych observed kapparot and later posted four videos she took on YouTube. In one video, Deych zoomed in on live chickens who were packed several bodies apiece to tiny crates that were stacked on top of each other. "Poor babies. They're so tightly packed over here, and some of them are in the hot sun," Deych can be heard saying in the video. In a comment posted along with the video, Deych alleged that the birds had "NO food and NO water" and said that she "called the ASPCA to notify them."
  • Today in Boro Park and two other Brooklyn neighborhoods, PETA will be distributing and posting "Gelt, Not Guilt" flyers like the one depicted below. Says PETA senior researcher Philip Schein, "We are encouraging people to use money instead of live chickens when performing the ritual. We will also be distributing hundreds of origami chickens made from actual money (similar to the origami money chicken in the flyer photo)."


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