State Supreme Court Justice Debra James on Monday refused to block Orthodox Jewish congregations in Brooklyn from carrying out the Kaporos, chicken-slaughter ritual, on public streets in advance of Yom Kippur.
Judge ruled that enforcement of animal cruelty laws was discretionary, and that police did nothing wrong by allowing rabbis to slaughter the chickens in the sin-transferring ritual.
- Kapparot – Jewish Chicken Slaughter Sidewalk Ritual Is Debated in Court; Lives of 50, 000 Birds at Stake
At this time of the year thousands of chickens are sacrificed by Jewish Orthodox as part of the Yom Kippur observance. Animal-welfare activist groups and residents neighbors sued the city for turning a blind eye to the practice in which they swing the chickens by their wings and slit their throats. The ritual subjected them to both a grisly display of screaming birds and a public health hazard.
Judge James, dodging the claimed conflict between religious rights and public health, ruled that city officials had deliberation to decide whether to enforce sanitary codes, and private parties couldn’t sue over an alleged “public nuisance.”