Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos Lawsuit: An Update
In July 2015, attorneys for the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, a project of United Poultry Concerns formed in 2010 in New York City, filed a lawsuit
in the New York Supreme Court seeking an injunction against Hasidic rabbis and synagogues in Brooklyn from participating in Kaporos, a custom of
“atonement” in which practitioners swing chickens by their wings and slaughter more than 50,000 in Brooklyn alone each year in the week
preceding Yom Kippur. Kaporos is practiced by Hasidic communities around the world and is opposed by everyone but the practitioners and the politicians who
court them for votes.
Our lawsuit maintains that the open air slaughterhouses used for Kaporos create a public health risk and violate animal cruelty laws. The lawsuit names the
New York Police Department, NYC Department of Health and the City of New York for failing to enforce these laws. And while Kaporos leaders claim to give
the dead chickens to “the poor,” in reality they throw the birds, dead and alive, into plastic trash bags for the city to dispose of at
On September 14, New York Supreme Court Judge Debra James denied the lawsuit’s request for a preliminary injunction to prohibit Kaporos in Brooklyn
in 2015. She denied the request to compel the NYPD and other city agencies to enforce the 15 laws that are violated by Kaporos practitioners. As of now,
the case for a permanent injunction continues and the Alliance and other plaintiffs have filed an appeal. In 2015, our case inspired a similar lawsuit in
Los Angeles. To learn more about the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos campaign, please visit
A Kaporos practitioner gestures obscenely as Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos activist, Rina Deych, photographs the ultimate obscenity, which is the Kaporos ritual itself.
Geralyn Shukwit/Courtesy Rina Deych, Brooklyn, September 2015