Slaughter chickens on the streets of New York City to your heart’s content no matter who it offends or potentially sickens. An elected New York State judge, Debra James, ruled Monday that there was insufficient evidence to ban the kapparot chicken slaughter atonement ritual. Why? Essentially, because she says so.
Judge Rules New York City Does Not Have To Enforce Health And Safety Codes Against Haredi Street Pop Up Chicken Slaughter, City Residents Have No Choice In The Matter
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Slaughter chickens on the streets of New York City to your heart’s content no matter who it offends or potentially sickens.
An elected New York State judge, Debra James, ruled Monday that there was insufficient evidence to ban the kapparot chicken slaughter atonement ritual performed by haredim on the sidewalks and streets of Brooklyn, Newsday reported. The ritual, which is widely eschewed by other Orthodox Jews and by non-Orthodox Jews, is also widely condemned by animal welfare activists and average New Yorkers alike.
But despite reams of evidence that thousands of kapparot chickens are mistreated before slaughter, that their carcasses are often discarded in trash cans and dumpsters, and that chicken blood, feces and feathers litter the sidewalks and streets surrounding these pop up kapparot centers, James ruled the practice can continue unabated. City officials have discretion under the law to decide whether or not to enforce the city’s sanitary codes and private individuals – like the city residents who filed suit against the city and Brooklyn’s largest kapparot operator, Chabad’s National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education, earlier this year for allowing the unhygienic and unsafe pop up kapparot centers to continue without restriction – do not have the legal right to sue the city over the alleged public nuisance caused by the city’s decision not to enforce the codes – a ruling that left many incredulous.
But not New York City’s haredi-bloc-vote-friendly government officials.
"We are pleased that the court recognized the city's authority to exercise discretion in this matter,” Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city law department, reportedly said.
The attorney for Chabad’s National Committee ridiculed the lawsuit, telling the Daily News, “you don’t get sick from inhaling chickens.”
The National Committee’s head, Rabbi Shea Hecht, previously backed Sholom Rubashkin and Agriprocessors during the inhumane slaughter scandal and the immigration raid and criminal charges that eventually followed it. Hecht was also a key player behind the effort to help the haredi and Chabad Jewish residents of Postville, Iowa – but specifically not the non-Jewish Postville residents – when Agriprocessors went into bankruptcy after the Rubashkin was arrested on federal immigration and bank fraud charges.
Hecht has often made disparaging remarks about the animal welfare activists who have complained about kapparot. Several years ago, his Crown Heights pop up chicken slaughter was caught dumping thousands of dead chickens in the trash. His attorneys claimed kapparot is a ritual that has been done by Jews for at least 2,000 years, when the oldest known reference to it in any halakhic literature is only about 1,000 years old. It is condemned in halakhic literature as a pagan custom and had strong rabbinic opposition. But it was a popular folk custom that, eventually, became normative, largely because of its adoption by the hasidic movement.
“No one has the right to change our religion, and this ruling proves we can’t be touched,” Yossi Ibrahim, a 27-year-old Chabad hasid from Crown Heights, Brooklyn told the New York Post.
James did not deal with any religion-state issues raised by the lawsuit.
Karen Davis, the president United Poultry Concerns, which is the parent organization of the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, which filed the suit against city along with the individual plaintiffs, said her group intends to pursue a complete legal ban on the ritual.
“I’m completely disappointed with her ruling,” Davis told Patch, “but I can’t say I’m surprised, just because of the nature of things. We’re very sorry to hear of her decision, but our plans are to go forward as best we can with the legal options we have. We sought an injunction for this year, but the lawsuit [against the city] encompasses what we hope will be an ultimate injunction.”