Court of Appeals Will Hear Case Against Chicken Kaporos, Oct. 17, 2018

Court of Appeals

On Wednesday, October 17th, at 2pm, the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and twenty New York City residents, all named plaintiffs in the lawsuit “The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, et al. v. New York City Police Department, et al.,” will have their case heard in the Court of Appeals, when attorney Nora Constance Marino, Esq., is scheduled to orally argue the case in New York State’s highest court.

The case was first brought in 2015, when the Alliance and the city residents had had enough of the bloodshed of 50,000+ chickens, taking place annually in residential neighborhoods in Brooklyn, in the name of a religious ritual. This ritual causes unimaginable animal suffering as well as creating major health risks in violation of many laws. In fact, Marino set forth fifteen laws that are violated during the ritual, retained an expert toxicologist, and has argued that the NYPD and other city agencies not only look the other way, but actually aid and abet in this law-breaking activity. Marino asked the lower court to compel the city agencies to enforce the laws.

The lower court dismissed the case, and Marino appealed. The case was then heard in the Appellate Division, First Department, where there was a split decision among the five justices – 3 to 2. Having these two “dissenting” votes meant that the case proceeded to the next level, to New York State’s highest court. The Court of Appeals hears fewer than 300 cases per year, out of the millions that are filed annually in the state. Just getting there is historic in and of itself.

It’s been a long, hard battle, but we are in the final stretch. City agencies should enforce the laws that all citizens must obey. As Marino states in her papers, “Freedom of religion is freedom of belief, not freedom to act.” The health codes, sanitation regulations, and animal cruelty statutes must be obeyed and enforced. Nobody is above the law.