Brooklynites File Lawsuit to Stop Brutal Chicken-Slaughtering Ritual

July 7, 2015 | Liam Mathews

A group of disgusted witnesses is suing four rabbis, several Hasidic congregations, and New York City in order to stop an annual religious ritual that features gruesome, highly public slaughtering of chickens, the Daily News reports.

The ritual, called Kaporos, occurs in the 10 days before Yom Kippur. A person’s sins are transferred into the purchased chicken, and then the chicken is slaughtered by a swing to the wings and a slice to the neck. The people filing suit object to the public nature of the ritual, which the Daily News says “turns public streets into slaughterhouses” when chicken merchants set up cages on sidewalks in Crown Heights and Borough Park and kill the chickens right there.

“Dead chickens, half dead chickens, chicken blood, chicken feathers, chicken urine, chicken feces, other toxins and garbage . . . consume the public streets,” the suit says. “There is no oversight and no remedy for toxic contaminant-filled debris or clean up…(the rituals) constitute a substantial public health risk that could have catastrophic and epidemic consequences.”

Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents Borough Park, told the Daily News, “I represent this community. I live here, walk around here, have an office in the heart of the community. And I don’t know what in God’s name they’re talking about. They make it sound like there’s blood running in the streets. It’s just not true.”

But disturbing video shot in Crown Heights in 2013 shows a different story, with slashed chickens tossed on the ground and left to bleed to death while bystanders look on.

(Photo: Kristine Paulus)