The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos

Jewish Animal Sacrifice in America’s Streets Protected by Government

Kapparot• A ‘fowl’ holocaust highlights Jewish power.

By Dave Gahary —

While AMERICAN FREE PRESS reported in December, 2011 on how Orthodox Jewish child sex predators are protected by various American law enforcement authorities, we can now add hundreds of thousands of chickens to the list of victims the government will turn a blind eye to, as long as they’re being abused by Jews, as a Jewish ritual practiced on the eve of a major Jewish holiday is shining a bright light on how political influence can trump even the vilest of religious practices.

Kapparot, or kaporos, where an Orthodox Jew, or frum, swings a live chicken over their head three times and then slaughters them, is occurring in the streets of Hasidic neighborhoods across America this week in preparation for the holiest day of the year for Jews, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

However, it’s not just an innocent whirl around a yarmulke and a quick slice to the throat for these birds, but hundreds of hours of torture, where they spend the last few days of their lives in miserable pain and unimaginable agony.

The origin of the practice finds its roots in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah. Although it was strongly opposed by some rabbis, it was approved by others in the ninth century, and the practice became generally accepted among the Jews of Eastern Europe, whose offspring migrated to our shores with their peculiar form of animal sacrifice.

Karen Davis is the founder and president of United Poultry Concerns (UPC), a 24-year-old nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other domesticated fowl. She became aware of the ritual in 1994, when people from New York City, where a high percentage of Jews reside, tipped her off to the practice.

“They were very distressed about the chickens being forced to sit in transport crates out on the streets of the city, without food, water or any shelter or really any attention from anybody,” Ms. Davis explained.

“Kaporos is a medieval custom whereby a man is supposed to swing a rooster and a woman is supposed to swing a hen, over their heads, and recite a chant, which basically says, ‘I’m passing my sins and punishment onto you, this chicken, who is going to suffer and die in my place so that I can have a long and happy life.’”

“One of the cruelest aspects of this ritual is how the practitioners hold the birds by their wings,” Davis explained. “They actually suspend the chickens by their wings and often will just stand around and chat with one another, holding these birds in this totally inhumane way, which is both painful for the birds and potentially injurious. They’ll just be holding the birds as if they had a large bag of groceries they were holding down at their sides, with no show at all of any glimmer of compassion for these birds.”

“The birds are trucked in from factory farms, and by the time they appear on the city streets, they might have already not had any food or water for nine, 10, 12 or more hours. Then they sit out on the streets immobilized in transport crates and are not given any food, water or any relief from the weather.”

“Last year,” Davis informed, “2,500 chickens died of heat stress because of the unusually warm weather in late September.”

The Jews treat the chickens this way on purpose.

“They’re treated like what they are intended to be in the ritual, punished objects,” she explained. “The only role of the chicken in the ritual is to be a symbolic recipient of the sins or wrongdoings and the punishment of the practitioner, to be mistreated, to be punished.”

Although numerous anti-cruelty and health code laws are being violated, the states of New York and New Jersey not only turn a blind eye, but dispatch police to protect the abusers, all at taxpayer expense.

“The Hasidic community give[s] a lot of money to politicians, and the word comes down from on high that they are not supposed to be touched,” Davis said. “The police are always there when we, the protesters, are there, to protect the practitioners, to be allowed to conduct their illegal practices. It’s a political thing which is based on a lot of money going into the pockets of the powers-that-be.”

“They’re allowed to do these illegal things, slaughtering thousands of birds in open-air tents in residential areas, allowing blood and feces and feathers to be in drains, to be floating in the air, where city law enforcement should be enforcing, but due to the politics of things, they are allowing these practitioners to break the law, year after year.”

Jewish spokespersons and print and online material claim the slaughtered birds are donated to the poor, but this is simply a public relations ploy.

The all-powerful rabbis “mislead their practitioners into thinking that the majority of these chickens are going to go to the poor, but in fact most of the birds don’t,” Davis explained.

“They throw dead and alive birds with cut throats who are still alive and writhing in pain and often crying, into big black plastic trash bags and leave them there on the street or throw them into dumpsters, which are often seeping with blood coming out into the drains and gutters, and they leave them there for the city sanitation workers to cart off to landfills.”

Another factor at play here is the money to be made off the suffering of these chickens by the rabbis who sanction the ritual, where the birds are purchased for a few dollars and sold to members of the congregation for a lot more.

“They’re selling them for anywhere from $18 to $26,” Davis said. “So in the guise of religion, those who are leading the ritual, the temples and the rabbis, are saying that, “Oh, we have to have this ritual,’ and are keen on maintaining it because they make a lot of money out of it.”

Although the United States Supreme Court upheld First Amendment protections to Santeria adherents to practice ritual animal sacrifice in the 1993 decision Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, laws are still being violated.

“At most the ritual itself is protected, unfortunately, by the First Amendment,” Davis explained, “but birds being forced to sit in a transport crate on city streets without any care at all, is not protected. And the First Amendment does not supersede the health codes of the city of New York or the State anti-cruelty statute.”

The numbers of tortured and slaughtered chickens can easily run into the hundreds of thousands during the days leading up to the holiday, due to the fertility rates of these Hasidic communities and the ritual’s rules.

Although one chicken is sacrificed for each Jew, and the average Hasidic family has between six and seven children, three chickens are abused and slaughtered for pregnant women, and varying numbers of birds are used for individuals and in varying conditions.

“I have heard that that they use as many as anywhere from 50-to-65,000 chickens in New York altogether,” Davis said.

Just in the town of Lakewood, New Jersey, where around 100,000 Hasidic Jews reside, which this newspaper reported on in June of this year, upwards of 150,000 chickens may pay the ultimate price so a Hasidic Jew can feel good about their future.

The ringleaders of this foul practice sometimes use the “anti-Semitism” card to fend off criticism, and Ms. Davis and the organization have had accusations of “anti-Semitism” hurled against them in the past.

“To suggest that this is about anti-Semitism is ridiculous,” Davis said. “This is not about anti-Semitism; it’s about extreme animal cruelty that is practiced by this particular group of people who are Jewish. But for them to say this is anti-Semitic is to be put on the defensive, so we should hurry and try to defend ourselves against charges of anti-Semitism. We don’t even get into that. These are people who are treating chickens cruelly, and that is why we are on their case.”

All hope is not lost, as there has been progress made.

In the Pico-Robertson neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, a few chicken torture/slaughter sites have been shut down for health code violations, and UPC is pursuing a Freedom of Information Act request to find out whether permits are filed for the rituals in N.Y.

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In New Jersey, Bill Sleight, a former Garden State police officer and former member of the enforcement arm of the N.J. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA), is a thorn in the side of Lakewood’s Hasidic community.

The first night the birds arrived in that shore town, Sleight went undercover wearing a yarmulke, and mingled with the crowd.

“I said, ‘You know, we don’t have to do this. These birds aren’t getting water. How could you not give them water?’”

“A man replied, ‘Get serious, we don’t water them. Listen, anybody wants to complain, they should care more about ISIS cutting people’s heads off then us cutting off the chickens’.’”

Sleight witnessed a wall of chickens languishing on the street.

They were “nine crates high and four deep,” he said, “and have been here since sundown last night; no food, no water.”

“The [New Jersey] Department of Agriculture [NJDA] regulations say they can’t be in the crates more than 18 hours,” Sleight explained. “Well, it’s certainly over that.”

Sleight thought of contacting the NJDA, but it was a Sunday. Same with the NJSPCA.

On Monday he was able to speak with the NJDA, who told him they were aware of the matter and suggested he fill out an online complaint form.

“I can’t reach anybody,” the former cop and NJSPCA investigator said. “Nobody wants to [expletive deleted] with them.”

This reporter asked Sleight if he was aware of any enforcement actions taken against the practitioners.

“Never done anything, I know that,” he said.

Sleight witnessed a trailer dropping upwards of 3,000 chickens in front of a yeshiva, a Jewish school.

“They dropped about eight o’clock that night,” he said. “The next day they were still in there, and they didn’t start unloading them until one o’clock.”

With the temperature soaring to 90°, Sleight tried to talk to the frum who came to throw him off the property, with no success.

“I came back at five o’clock, and they were actually loading them up again,” he said.

Sleight explained what happened when he tried to help an injured chicken.

“I see a bird that’s hurt,” he began. “They hire these little, Jewish kids to take the birds out of the crates; 10, 11, 12-year-olds. They hold it up by the wings. That’s gotta hurt. They’re grabbing them, and they’re rough. They’re rough because they’re doing it fast, and they’re stupid kids, you know, they’re kids! So I see this chicken with a little blood on his back, like the birds picked on him. Well, once a bird is damaged, it’s like kosher, you can’t touch it now. They can’t use it in their voodoo dance.”

Sleight tried to buy the chicken, but the rabbi refused.

“He said, ‘We don’t sell to you,’ and I said, ‘Whaddya mean you don’t sell to me, I wanna buy a bird.’ He said, ‘This is for religious practices only,’ and I said, ‘Well not that one over there. He’s wounded, and that’s the one I want.’ ‘We don’t sell to you,’ he said. I said, ‘What, to the goys?’ and he said, ‘We’re not in the chicken business with the goyim, we don’t sell to you.’”

The rabbi gestured with his hand for Sleight to go away.

Undeterred, Sleight approached two separate frums to ask if they would buy the bird for him, but they both declined, citing religious reasons and not wanting to lie to the rabbi. He eventually coaxed, with a $20 bill, a Mexican day laborer to get him the chicken when the rabbi wasn’t around.”

“I looked at the bird and realized it had a compound fracture of the wing,” he said. “From grabbing it, they snapped its wing.”

One of the frums, an 18-year-old, got Sleight a box, and while he and Sleight were walking down the street with it, the frum that kicked him off the property earlier in the day accosted him.

“He comes running across the street, cuts me off, and grabs the box,” he said.

Sleight’s companion said, “I gave him that chicken,” and the man said “It’s not yours to give to them.”

“He pulled the box so hard,” Sleight explained, “it ripped open and the chicken fell out, and they grabbed the chicken and they ran off.”

Soon after, Sleight found out two Lakewood police cars were looking for him.

“I was a cop; I know how to duck cops. You walk down the street and you walk into an apartment complex and they lose you. That’s what I did. But I was watching them and they were circling the block looking for this guy that ‘assaulted’ one of the Jews.”

– See more at:

The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is an association of groups and individuals who seek to replace the use of chickens in Kaporos ceremonies with money or other non-animal symbols of atonement. The Alliance does not oppose Kaporos per se, only the cruel and unnecessary use of chickens in the ceremony.

        Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos
1157 46th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11219
(757) 678-7875
(Founding Members & Core Working Group)
facebook twitter youtube kindkaporos on instagram kindkaporos on tumblr
Please help us do more by donating to the
Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos.
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2014New York
Videos of 2014 Kaporos Ritual, Slaughter & Protests in Brooklyn, NY 6 October 2014
Free flying! Animal activists rescue 17 leftover redemption roosters before start of Yom Kippur 5 October 2014 –
Video: Karen Davis Speaks at End Chickens as Kaporos Press Briefing on 1 Oct 2014 4 October 2014 –
Ultra-Orthodox Jews Defend Right To Kaporos, Ritual Chicken Slaughter, For Yom Kippur 3 October 2014 –
Animal Rights Activists Protest Kaporos 2 October 2014 –
Video: Kaporos Kapparot in Brooklyn. Torture and Murder 2 October 2014 –
Ritual Chicken Slaughter Draws Fire 2 October 2014 –
Animal cruelty protests, legal actions continue over Jewish ‘Kapporos’ ritual 2 October 2014 –
U.S. activists protest over Yom Kippur ritual chicken slaughter 2 October 2014 –
Bloodshed in Brooklyn – Video from the Final Night 2 October 2014 –
Animal Rights Group Protests Pre-Yom Kippur Chicken Ritual Held in Brooklyn 2 October 2014 –
The Kapparot Problem 1 October 2014 –
Jewish Ritual Chicken Slaughter Sparks Protest In Crown Heights 1 October 2014 –
Animal Cruelty Protests, Legal Actions Continue Over Jewish ‘Kapporos’ Ritual 1 October 2014 –
Stop this chicken torture – Kaporos, a Yom Kippur tradition, is unnecessary and inhumane 1 October 2014 –
Lawyers File Emergency Order to Shut Down Chicken Swinging (New Video) 1 October 2014 –
News Release: Brooklyn Press Briefing to Protest Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 30 September 2014
Activist Arrested for Liberating Chickens; Hundreds of Others Found Dead 30 September 2014 –
Animal activists to rally against Jewish redemption rite that leads to slaughter of thousands of fowl 29 September 2014 –
Rabbi Stav & ‘Tzohar Rabbonim’ Come Out Against Kaporos 29 September 2014 –
Kaporos & the Chicken Industry: eHealth Podcast Interview with Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns 25 September 2014
News Release: Activists Plan Brooklyn Rally to Protest Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 23 September 2014
Their Turn: Renewed Efforts to Stop Chicken-Swinging Ritual During Yom Kippur 23 September 2014 –
Please Sign Our Petition Urging Enforcement of Laws Being Broken by Kaporos Practitioners in New York 19 September 2014
• Oct. 1, 2014 @ 11am Kaporos Press Briefing in Brooklyn 11 September 2014
Chicken Kaporos Demos in Brooklyn: Please Join Us! 8 September 2014
• June 12, 2014: Critique of the Animal Law Forum on Animal Sacrifice and Kaporos 2 July 2014
(Summary in UPC Fall 2014 Poultry Press)

Chicken Kaporos Forum Audio Now Available! 17 June 2014
News Release: Karen Davis, Ph.D. Discusses Animal Slaughter at NYC Bar Association Meeting 16 June 2014
Animal Sacrifice, Religion and the Law. The Practice of Using Chickens as Kaporos: A Forum Free & Open to the Public 14 May 2014

Los Angeles
• Oct. 3, 2014 @ 11am Compassionate Kapparot Demo/Ritual: Coins, Not Hens 30 September 2014
Please support efforts in Los Angeles to end the use of chickens in the custom of Kaporos 27 September 2014
Stop Chickens as Kapparot in Los Angeles: A Fundraiser/Friendraiser 18 July 2014

MK Peretz Calls to Replace Kaparot Chickens with Money 2 October 2014 –
Ancient Yom Kippur ritual of kapparot conspicuously absent on streets of Jerusalem 1 October 2014 –
Rabbi Stav & ‘Tzohar Rabbonim’ Come Out Against Kaporos 29 September 2014 –

2013New York
Kaporos in Brooklyn: Behind the Scenes, September 2013 23 September 2013 –
Lori Barrett, Esq. Letter to NYPD re: Kaporos in Crown Heights, Sept. 17, 2013 8 October 2013
Op-Ed: A Double Standard on Kaparot, September 16, 2013 23 September 2013 –
Vigil For Chickens Who Died in Their Crates Awaiting Kaporos Torture – September 16, 2013 in Brooklyn, NY 15 September 2013
Protestors Try To Stop Jews’ Ritual Chicken Slaughter In Crown Heights 15 September 2013 –
No one here but us (dead) chickens! Thousands of birds die from heat, not Jewish sin ritual 13 September 2013 –
Big Fat Vegan Radio – Kaporos Update!! Field Interview with Dawn Ladd 12 September 2013 –
Brooklyn’s ‘crazy chicken lady’ making progress in fighting kapparot ritual 11 September 2013 –
Truck urging money instead of chickens in Kaporos 10 September 2013 –
Big Fat Vegan Radio – Interview: Rina Deych (Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos) 10 September 2013 –
News Release: Activists Will Rally In Brooklyn, NY to Protest Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 4 September 2013
Please Sign Our 2013 Petition Urging Money Instead of Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 29 August 2013
Chicken Kaporos Demos in Brooklyn: Please Join Us! 20 August 2013
Urge Brooklyn Business Owners to Stop Renting Out Their Property UPC Winter-Spring 2013 Poultry Press

Los Angeles
Sacrificial Chickens: Jewish Yom Kippur Ritual Sparks Controversy in Pico-Robertson, LA Weekly, Sept. 13, 2013 15 October 2013
Please Sign Los Angeles Petition to Ban Chicken Kaporos & Read Passionate Blog Post by Vegan Rabbit! 20 September 2013
Petition City of Los Angeles: Stop granting permits for Kapporot, ritual animal abuse 18 September 2013 –
Kapparot With Chickens: On Ritual Slaughter and Human Greed, by Vegan Rabbit, September 16, 2013, Los Angeles 17 September 2013 –
Letters: The chickens or the religious rite? –, September 14, 2013 16 September 2013
Compilation of Los Angeles Times Kaporos articles/letters September 11-14, 2013 16 September 2013
Killing of chickens in Jewish ritual draws protests 15 September 2013 –
Sunday’s protestors sought kaporot concessions by Edmon J. Rodman 10 September 2013 –
Los Angeles Activists Heat Up Against Chicken Kaporos 6 September 2013
Atonement chickens — swung and tossed, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles by Edmon J. Rodman 3 September 2013
End the Killing of Chickens For Kapparot – September 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA 2 September 2013

Minister Peretz Opposes the Kaparot Tradition: “Prevent Animals from Suffering” 16 September 2013 –
Chickens Rescued from Kapparot By Animal Rights in Israel 16 September 2013
Why perform a rite that kills chickens as a way to seek divine compassion? The Jerusalem Post by Richard H. Schwartz 2 September 2013

Considerations, Information, Pleas for Mercy & Action
Kaporos Campaign Report: A Heartfelt Plea for Mercy UPC Fall-Winter 2013 Poultry Press
Kapporos protests: What works and what doesn’t 4 October 2013 –
PLEASE SIGN OUR 2 KAPOROS PETITIONS! 5,000 Signatures Needed! Ask Friends, Family & Coworkers to Sign Now! 1 October 2013
Kaporos: A Heartfelt Plea for Mercy 27 August 2013
United Poultry Concerns’ Campaign to End Chicken Kaporos 19 March 2013

Activists Rally In Brooklyn to Protest Chickens in Kaporos Rituals UPC Winter 2012 Poultry Press
Chicken Tzedakah Makes a Racket 4 October 2012 –
Chicken Tzedakah 2 October 2012 –
Video: Activists Can’t Stop Yom Kippur Slaughter Of Thousands Of Chickens In Crown Heights 28 September 2012 –
Activists to Jews: “Use money instead of chickens in the ritual of Kaporos” (Photos/videos) 26 September 2012 –
Video: Decapitating CHICKENS at Kaporos – Brooklyn NY 9-24-12 26 September 2012 –
Video: Karen Davis, UPC Speaks at Kaporos Protest, Brooklyn 9-24-12 26 September 2012 –
Video: Rescued Kapparot/Kaporos Chickens 26 September 2012 –
Chickens & All Creatures Need Mercy From Us: 6 Articles & One Video 21 September 2012
News Release: Activists Will Rally In Brooklyn, NY to Protest Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 18 September 2012
Luncheon to Benefit the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos – Join us at Caravan in NYC on Sunday 23 September 11:30am 5 September 2012
Join UPC President Karen Davis on Animals Today Radio on Sunday September 2 at 5:00 p.m. EST 31 August 2012 – Topics: United Poultry Concerns’ Campaigns to End Chicken Kaporos and Require Fire Protection Systems in Farm Animal Housing Facilities
Please Join our End-Chickens-As-Kaporos Demos in Brooklyn on September 23rd and 24th 31 August 2012
Please Sign Our Petition Urging Money Instead of Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 29 August 2012

End Chickens as Kaporos Campaign: A Growing Force for Compassionate Change 18 October 2011
Traditional Yom Kippur Chicken Slaughter In Orthodox Community Causes Controversy (VIDEO) – 7 October 2011
Video of Kaporos 4 Oct 2011 Demo #1 (Midwood, Brooklyn) 5 October 2011 –
A Yom Kippur of Mercy or Cruelty? | The Jewish Week 3 October 2011 –
Need volunteers to transport rescued chickens to several locations in NY, PA, and possibly MD 1 October 2011
Directions & Instructions for End Chickens as Kaporos Demos October 4, 5, and 6 1 October 2011 Annual Protests Of Annual Jewish Chicken Ritual On Schedule 1 October 2011
Times Square Ad for End Chickens as Kaporos Rally & Logo – Our PR Newswire Release was displayed on September 28, 2011 29 September 2011
News Release: Activists Will Rally In Brooklyn, NY to “End Chickens as Kaporos” 28 September 2011
“An End to Chickens as Kapores?” By Jenna Weissman Joselit,, September 21, 2011 26 September 2011
Join Us in Brooklyn for 3 End-Chickens-As-Kaporos Demos in October 21 September 2011
Gourmet Dinner to Benefit the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos – Join Us at Blossom in NYC on Monday 3 October 2011 at 6pm 14 September 2011
Jonathan Scovner’s Review of When the Chickens Went on Strike and interview with Erica Silverman 2 September 2011 –
Please Sign Our End-Chickens-as-Kaporos Petition for 2011 30 August 2011
End Chickens as Kaporos: Get Ready for Demos in New York City! 15 August 2011

Chemers, a baby rooster, was rescued from Kaporos rituals in 2010. This photograph is one of 12 winning
photos published in the 2011 Chicken Run Rescue calendar (

Photo by Greg Straight Edge.

• 11/23/10: David Rosenfeld – “End Chickens as Kaporos” – Tonight on MINDLIGHT, Queens Public Television, QPTV Channel 34, from 8-9pm ET.
• 11/16/10: End Chickens as Kaporos Campaign Wins Major Media Attention (UPC Winter 2010 Poultry Press)
• 11/15/10: AECK Founding Member’s Home & Banner Vandalized
• 10/12/10: Please Write a Thank You Letter to the Editor of THE WASHINGTON POST
• 10/11/10: “An ancient tradition draws protests” by Carol Guzy, The Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2010
• 10/04/10: Mary and Peter Max Benefit to End Chickens in Kaporos Rituals was a Great Success!
• 09/28/10: News Release: Mary and Peter Max Will Host Benefit to End Chickens in Kaporos Rituals
• 09/27/10: Kind Kaporos Article, Blog & Letters to the Editor
• 09/23/10: Videos of 2010 Kaporos Ritual & Slaughter in Brooklyn, NY
• 09/15/10: Brooklyn Rally to End Chickens as Kaporos Draws Vigorous Activist Turnout & Media Coverage
• 09/15/10: Crying foul over kaporos, The Jewish Star, By Michael Orbach
• 08/04/10: End Chickens As Kaporos Rally on September 12 in Brooklyn, NY
• 09/09/10: Activists Cry Foul Over [Cruel] Chicken Ritual
• 09/07/10: News Release: Activists Will Rally on September 12 in Brooklyn, NY to “End Chickens as Kaporos”
Veterinarians Speak Out Against Using Chickens As Kaporos
The Custom of Kapparot in the Jewish Tradition
Petition to Replace Chickens with Money in Kaporos Rituals
Video and Images from 2007 Kaporos in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

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