What are you teaching your children when you force them to participate in the ritualistic killing of animals? In schools and temples across the U.S and Israel, animal rights activists protested kapparot (kaparot). The Jewish ritual of atonement has made the news in recent years and has just finished its bloody few days where activists battled it out with practitioners.
At one kapparot in Los Angeles, children participated and some, laughing, with blood on their clothes and hands, were allowed to taunt activists holding signs outside the school the killing was taking place. Doesn't it behoove us to teach our children compassion? We know now that children committing animal abuse have psychological issues that need to be monitored. We know that serial killers practice on animals first, so what is it saying by allowing a child to swing a chicken above one's head, slit its throat and throw her in the trash teaching them?
It would appear that it is a minority of Jewish people that practice this medieval sacrifice. This year, especially in Los Angeles, people are eschewing this violent ritual and forsaking using chickens and replacing them with coins. This change must be attributed to the hard work of activists and those in the Jewish community appalled at this practice who want to end it once and for all. From what I have witnessed so far, it is not because any governmental animal protection body such as Los Angeles Animal Services or law enforcement agency stood up to enforce any violations of laws, perhaps due to how intimidated people are when confronting a religious body. One wonders what would have happened if they were using dogs instead of chickens.
At a Board of Animal Services Commissioners meeting held at the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center on November 5, board members David Zaft, Larry Gross, Jennifer Brent, and Roger Wolfson, expressed great concern over kapparot. The packed room was assured the ritual would be watching closely this year, and steps would be taken to ensure no animal abuse took place. Mark Salazar, Director of Field Operations for LAAS spoke at the same meeting quoting a press release ensuring any animal welfare violations would be dealt with in earnest. When one of the commissioners asked if extra officers would be assigned to this task during kapparot, Salazar avoided answering.
Protestors received the answer in real time this year as LAAS showed up to one location at Waring Ave., in Los Angeles, confiscated ONE dead chicken out of thousands and left again. The approximately 2,000 chickens slaughtered at that location were held overnight after being trucked in from Maust's Poultry Farm in Chino crammed in cages. Eyewitnesses spoke about how the chickens were given no food or water, were injured, had broken wings and some could not breath dying in the cages. The birds were so hungry they were turning to cannibalism and eating their own dead. Here is a video taken behind the scenes at Waring Ave, during Kaparot in Los Angeles, which explicitly shows the rituals barbaric nature. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLa_ZSH8JT8
According to one of the activists present, LAAS had been contacted, had come out the first time to the site too early to witness much, left and then refused to return that day. The officer did return the next day an hour and a half late after accusing the activist of lying about chickens being slaughtered. Needless to say, the agency charged with protecting animals failed miserably in doing what it is paid to do. Even if this is a politically charged situation to allow 2,000 animals to be slaughtered in a school, with children participating under any circumstances is a gross moral and legal breakdown.
Their appalling lack of action was duly called out by activist Lola Kay at a meeting they were conducting DURING the worst day of the slaughter; her amazingly powerful, heartfelt and emotional plea can be seen here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_IwydMNhPk&list=FL4kqPlQ36X7_ODNhIBb6sEQ&index=1
The fact that the board sat there, emotionless, scribbling notes as if they had no idea what was going on is sickening. Obviously, we need a sea change at LAAS across the board with people who are more concerned with animal welfare than protecting their careers and hiding behind red tape.
A quote from one media outlet is astonishing and clearly laid out the medieval mindset of those involved, http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/09/22/animal-rights-activists-clash-with-religious-jews-in-brooklyn-over-ancient-chicken-swinging-ritual/
“We know the sin passes into the chicken." Really? You know that do you? What next? Are we going to arrest Aunt Jemima's pig for witchcraft and burn it at the stake? We are living in the 21st-Century people, where despicable acts of ritualistic sacrifice should have ended eons ago, and the LAPD certainly shouldn't be protecting it. Police officers protecting the kaparot at the Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad told one activist to "take her freedom of speech across the street." This ritual is not a certified business; it is not an institution why were LAPD protecting it when the entire event is under scrutiny for animal cruelty and is the subject of not one but TWO lawsuits. How come are they using our taxpayer's dollars to protect this objectionable slaughter?
Who truly believes that when you pay someone for a chicken and that chicken is swung around and has its throat cut that your sins pass into this poor animal? How can anyone in this century believe that or follow such an archaic ritual? And, how does a city like Los Angeles stand by and allow it's police officers to protect this animal cruelty and not enforce some kind of standard of animal welfare. It's despicable.
It is a contemptible lie to state that the chickens are given to the poor, as time after time it has been witnessed the dead animals being stuffed into plastic bags and disposed of like trash. One witness spoke about how the thousands of birds at Waring Ave., were tossed into bins, some still alive and struggling to be sent to a rendering plant afterward apparently to be fed back to chickens! A video has emerged from a New York kaparot showing hundreds of dead birds stuffed into plastic bags being tossed into the back of a trash truck. http://gothamist.com/2015/09/23/kaporos_chicken_videos.php
As I understand it there are plenty of Rabbi's who do not indulge in this bloodthirsty rite, and strongly oppose it so I would say it behooves them to persuade those of their own faith to dispose of this ritual once and for all. The kapparot ritual is not mentioned in the Torah or the Talmud. In fact, the Torah teaches compassion to animals and prohibits Jews from causing unnecessary pain to living creatures. It brings nothing but shame on the religion to act in this way, teaching children such disrespect to animals and people, allowing blood-covered children to taunt and jeer at activists in LA. A full explanation of why and how the kapparot came about can be found here - https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/kapparot.html
It is obvious this ritual makes money, money can clearly be seen changing hands, again we are back to the same old issue, ignore gross animal abuse if it's making someone money. This is not about piety, it's not about religion, it's about making money in the exploitation of those that cannot speak up for themselves or protect themselves - the animals.
In Los Angeles, activists were promised to be given the chickens that were left over that hadn't been killed, a rescue had already built extra cages to house them. Apparently, not enough people showed up this year to "use" all of the chickens that were delivered to Waring Ave., The chickens didn't make it, however, at the end of the bloody day, one of the teenage boys appeared hands spread, "The cages are empty, they're all dead now."