Each year in the days leading up to Yom Kippur, Rocky Schwartz, like dozens of other animal rights activists, attempts to dissuade ultra-Orthodox Jews from participating in a ritutal chicken sacrifice called Kaporos, or Kapparot. In 2016, she had a lucky break.
This is the story of a young Hasidic girl named Rose who defied her community, an animal rights activist who convinced her to show compassion—and a chicken who got a second chance.
Kaporos is a annual ritual in which ultra-Orthodox Jews swing chickens around their heads while saying a prayer to transfer their sins to the animals. After the ritual, they give the chickens to a butcher who slices their throats. The ritual is performed prior to Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
In Brooklyn, where an estimated 60,000 chickens are swung and massacred each year, animal rights activists take to the streets to protest, disrupt, rescue, educate the public and make a plea for mercy.
Some Kaporos practitioners transfer their sins to coins instead of live chickens.
Orthodox Jews picking up chickens to slaughter in Brooklyn, New York, on September 12, 2010. (image: Several Seconds/Flickr)
Young Orthodox boys hand out chickens who have been confined and starved for days, September 12, 2010. (image: Several seconds/Flickr)
Over the course of the week leading up to Yom Kippur, hundreds of animal rights activists protest Kaporos where the ritual is taking place. (image: United Poultry Concerns)
Each year, activists rescue hundreds of chickens from the Kaporos and bring them to sanctuaries that give them a forever home.
Rose is living in Brooklyn with Ms. Schwartz, her human companion Jay, three dogs and two other rescue chickens.
One-year old Rose, a chicken was rescued from slaughter after the Yom Kippur Kaporos ritual, enjoys an afternoon in the garden.
In 2015, the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos sued the NYC Department of Health and NYPD for failing to enforce the 15 public health, sanitation and anti-cruelty laws and regulations that are violated during Kaporos. The case is pending in New York’s Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.
The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, the organization that is leading the effort to stop the ritual slaughter, is raising money to pay for the long-term care of the chickens who are rescued and for a groundbreaking lawsuit against NYC for failing to enforce the laws that are broken by Kaporos practitioners. If you have the means, please