On the eve Yom Kippur, many Orthodox Jewish communities take part in Kaporos, a ritual that calls for the sacrifice of chickens by swinging them over the heads of practitioners and publicly butchering them, saying “this is my substitute, this is my exchange, this is my atonement. This fowl will go to death, and I will enter upon a good and long life.”

A group called The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is protesting the ceremony, holding demonstrations Sunday and today at 792 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. “The use of chickens in Kaporos rituals is cruel and contrary to Jewish teachings. It is not a mitzvah but a bizarre custom that originated in the middle ages,” writes the alliance in a press release, continuing, “chickens used in Kaporos rituals are trucked from factory farms to urban areas and held in transport crates for days without food, water or shelter.”

I’m all for demonstrating against animal cruelty, but those conditions sound an awful lot like the conditions regular, non-sacrificial chickens are subjected to on factory farms every day. Whoever the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos are, I hope they’re also thinking about the meat industry.

(Image: Martin de Witte/Flickr)