Urgent! Sign Petition To Stop Chabad Of Irvine’s Use Of Live Chickens In Religious Ritual

Photo credit: By Government Press Office (Israel), CC BY-SA 3.0

During the High Holy Days before Yom Kippur, many Orthodox Jews participate in an atonement ritual called Kapparot.

For more than two thousand years, a live chicken would be grasped by its wings and swung over a person’s head three times in a symbolic gesture of transferring the person’s sins to the bird. The chickens’ necks were then cut and they were donated to people in need.

Fortunately, in these modern and much more enlightened times, most participants of this ritual swing bags filled with money over their heads instead of live chickens. The money is then donated to help feed people in need in their community. A much better idea.

Unfathomably, live chickens are still used in some Kapparot rituals including those practiced at the Chabad of Irvine in Southern California.

The synagogue claims that the chickens are treated humanely and not killed.

There is nothing humane about cruelly manhandling an innocent animal in any way!

The Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL), agrees and has filed a lawsuit; but not against the Chabad. Instead, the group is suing the Irvine and Los Angeles police departments for “protecting the illegal killing of animals” by allowing this ritual to be performed at the Chabad of Irvine, as well as other locations in Orange County and Los Angeles County.

APRL had also recently filed a lawsuit naming the Chabad of Irvine as the defendant alleging that since the synagogue’s members paid Chabad leaders for the chickens, the slaughter was a business activity that broke California’s unfair competition law.

Sadly, an Orange County Superior Court judge rejected the lawsuit three months ago, ruling that the Kapparot ceremony is not a business act but a religious ritual supported by donations.

Last week, Bryan Pease, the attorney who represents the APRL and filed the lawsuits, explained to the Orange County Register that this time the organization was suing the police departments because “animal-cruelty laws can only be directly enforced by law enforcement. The cities just don’t want to touch this because religions are involved.”

Other animal welfare groups are also working to end the use of live chickens in Kapparot rituals. The Compassionate Kapparot campaign, launched by Expand Animal Rights Now and Faith Action for Animals, is ”taking legal action, working with local leaders and activists, and contacting Kapparot practitioners to stop them from continuing the ritual,” according to its website.

People in the Los Angeles area can attend a Kapparot chicken slaughter protest taking place in Woodland Hills on September 27th and 28th. Information is available Here!


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