ASPCA Responds to “Kapparot” Chickens

In our Winter 2001 PoultryPress, we asked our members to urge the ASPCA to tell the Hasidic rabbis in New York to comply with the New York State Anti-Cruelty Law, Article 26, which states that animals must have fresh food, water, and protection from the elements at all times. Every September, thousands of chickens sit miserably in crates for a week or more in New York City without food, water, or shelter, awaiting their cruel death in a Hasidic Jewish ritual known as Kapparot, in which chickens are swung above the practitioner's head three times prior to being killed. While this cruelty is unfortunately protected by law, mistreatment leading up to the ritual is not, so we urged the ASPCA to use its law enforcement power to uphold the law.

In response, ASPCA President Dr. Larry Hawk wrote to an influential member of the Hasidic community pointing out the public's distress over the mistreatment of the chickens and the need for the Hasidic community to obey New York's anti-cruelty statute. He included a statement of Necessary Care of Chickens including Food and Water, Shelter, Housing, and Temperature, observing that "[s]ome common problems that our humane law enforcement officers encounter are chickens crowded into cages, which may be left in direct sunlight for numerous hours and lack of food and water."

What Can I Do?

Thank Dr. Hawk for taking action and urge that the ASPCA continue to uphold the law and protect the chickens vigorously.

Larry M. Hawk, DVM
President, CEO
424 East 92nd Street
New York, NY 10128-6804