California animal rights group sues to end pre-Yom Kippur chicken ritual
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California animal rights group sues to end pre-Yom Kippur chicken ritual

San Diego Animal Protection and Rescue League demands police prevent Chabad of Irvine's kapparot ceremony

Illustrative image of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man in a religious neighborhood in Ashdod performing 'kapparot' ritual before Yom Kippur. (Dima Vazinovich/Flash90)
Illustrative image of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man in a religious neighborhood in Ashdod performing 'kapparot' ritual before Yom Kippur. (Dima Vazinovich/Flash90)

An animal rights group filed a lawsuit against the California Police for not enforcing animal cruelty laws by halting a pre-Yom Kippur ritual.

The lawsuit filed this week is aimed at stopping Chabad of Irvine’s kapparot ceremony, a ritual in which a chicken is swung around the person’s head and then slaughtered.

It is the second attempt in recent years by the San Diego-based Animal Protection and Rescue League to halt the ceremony.

The lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Santa Ana names both the Irvine and the Los Angeles Police Departments, saying that they protect the “illegal killing of animals” by not cracking down on the kapparot ceremonies, the Orange County Register reported.

A lawsuit filed by the group against Chabad Lubavitch in 2015 on the basis of animal cruelty said that the chickens are crammed tightly into cages and mishandled, and are disposed of and not used for food.

A federal judge in May dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Virginia-based United Poultry Concerns claiming that the practice violates the state’s unfair competition law.

Kapparot is an ancient practice performed annually by some Jews between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. By performing kapparot, a person’s sins are said to be symbolically transferred to the chicken as part of the process of atonement ahead of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The meat of the chicken is then donated to charity. Some people perform the ritual using money in place of a chicken.

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