If you're not one for open-air slaughterhouses, the overpowering stench of blood and feces on the streets and sidewalk, and the sound of terrified animals having their throats slit in the presence and with the assistance of children, then maybe New York City just isn't the place for you. For that is the distressing and anachronistic scene at an annual event that takes place in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, in which an estimated sixty-thousand young chickens are jammed into plastic crates, shipped into the city on trucks, left on the sidewalk without food or water, and then summarily slaughtered in an atavistic and violent atonement ritual known as kaporos.

Your first thought may be that such an overtly unsanitary and unhygienic and morally appalling festival must certainly be illegal in the Capital of The Modern World in the year 2016, and indeed it is illegal. The ritual sacrifice of live animals as described above and practiced within the city limits of New York violates no fewer than fifteen city and state public health and safety laws and statutes regarding cruelty to animals. And yet, it is an annual occurrence that the NYPD does not merely tolerate, but positively supports. Every year the NYPD and the mayor's office not only fail to enforce the very laws that it is their sworn duty and solemn responsibility to uphold, but are also complicit in the breaking of those laws by providing manpower, barricades, and generators to aid and abet the practitioners of these flagrantly illegal activities: activities that are a threat to public health and public safety and are also unimaginably painful and traumatic to the animals involved.

This disgraceful and inhumane practice must end now. And so must the willingness of the New York City Police Department and Mayor deBlasio to look the other way and grant impunity to those whose attachment to an obscure and violent religious tradition is being allowed to imperil public health and public safety and to subvert the laws that protect nonhuman animals from agonizing cruelty. The desire of a few small religious sects to adhere to the barbaric practice of sacrificing live animals in order to atone for their sins should not put other New Yorkers in the position of having to sacrifice our health, safety, and decency at the altar of religious tolerance.    

Below are photographs that Vegan Future Now took at this year's kaporos ritual in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Hovering over each photo with your cursor will reveal a description of the image.

Tens of thousands of live chickens are shipped into Brooklyn in small, cramped, feces-laden plastic crates.

Tens of thousands of live chickens are shipped into Brooklyn in small, cramped, feces-laden plastic crates.

This young chicken will have her throat slit open in order to make a human being feel better about the sins he or she has committed in the past year.

This young chicken will have her throat slit open in order to make a human being feel better about the sins he or she has committed in the past year.

The practitioners invariably hold the chickens with their wings pinned behind their backs, which is incredibly painful for the birds.

The practitioners invariably hold the chickens with their wings pinned behind their backs, which is incredibly painful for the birds.

No matter what your feelings about animal rights may be, I think we can all agree that no animal should be treated like a bag of groceries.

No matter what your feelings about animal rights may be, I think we can all agree that no animal should be treated like a bag of groceries.

The NYPD provide barricades, manpower,  and generators to make sure this illegal activity goes off without a hitch.

The NYPD provide barricades, manpower,  and generators to make sure this illegal activity goes off without a hitch.

Most of us would have to provide our own lights and electricity if we wanted to host an event that violates fifteen state and local laws, but the NYPD are happy to do their part to illuminate this illegal and bloody event.  

Most of us would have to provide our own lights and electricity if we wanted to host an event that violates fifteen state and local laws, but the NYPD are happy to do their part to illuminate this illegal and bloody event.  

Animal rights activists showed up in great numbers to protest the cruel and anachronistic practice of animal sacrifice. 

Animal rights activists showed up in great numbers to protest the cruel and anachronistic practice of animal sacrifice. 

Leaving aside the logically and morally indefensible practice of scapegoating through an atonement sacrifice, forcing children to witness ritual slaughter on such a massive scale is tantamount to child abuse. 

Leaving aside the logically and morally indefensible practice of scapegoating through an atonement sacrifice, forcing children to witness ritual slaughter on such a massive scale is tantamount to child abuse. 

Just before I took this photo, a man standing beside me informed me very menacingly that the contents of this crate are his private property and if he saw me take a photo of it, he would break my camera. I took the photo and the man did nothing. Verbal and even physical abuse of protesters is a common occurrence at kaporos rituals.

Just before I took this photo, a man standing beside me informed me very menacingly that the contents of this crate are his private property and if he saw me take a photo of it, he would break my camera. I took the photo and the man did nothing. Verbal and even physical abuse of protesters is a common occurrence at kaporos rituals.

A terrified young chicken is handed over to the man who will slit her throat open and toss her aside to bleed to death.

A terrified young chicken is handed over to the man who will slit her throat open and toss her aside to bleed to death.

At no more than a few weeks old, this young chicken is sliced open in a ritual that should have ended thousands of years ago.  

At no more than a few weeks old, this young chicken is sliced open in a ritual that should have ended thousands of years ago.  

Another victim of superstition and human cruelty.

Another victim of superstition and human cruelty.

This barbaric and unnecessary act is repeated 60,000 times over the course of just a few days on the streets of Brooklyn every year.

This barbaric and unnecessary act is repeated 60,000 times over the course of just a few days on the streets of Brooklyn every year.

After their throats are slit, the chickens are tossed to a second slaughterhouse volunteer who places them headlong into inverted traffic cones, where they slowly bleed out.

After their throats are slit, the chickens are tossed to a second slaughterhouse volunteer who places them headlong into inverted traffic cones, where they slowly bleed out.

Is this really the kind of work that children should be doing? Though there are laws on the books that forbid persons under 18 to work in slaughterhouses, those laws apparently don't apply to all of us equally. 

Is this really the kind of work that children should be doing? Though there are laws on the books that forbid persons under 18 to work in slaughterhouses, those laws apparently don't apply to all of us equally. 

Once the chickens have bled out, they are thrown into garbage bags. The participants in and organizers of this event claim that the chickens slaughtered in the ritual are used as food for the less fortunate, though that claim seems incredibly dubious in light of the complete absence of sanitary standards observed before, during, and after slaughter.

Once the chickens have bled out, they are thrown into garbage bags. The participants in and organizers of this event claim that the chickens slaughtered in the ritual are used as food for the less fortunate, though that claim seems incredibly dubious in light of the complete absence of sanitary standards observed before, during, and after slaughter.

This is where the chickens end up. Their bloody bodies are thrown by the hundreds into plastic bags, which are in turn thrown into a cargo van. This is not a refrigerated food service vehicle and in no sense of the word are these corpses being handled as if they were intended for human consumption.  

This is where the chickens end up. Their bloody bodies are thrown by the hundreds into plastic bags, which are in turn thrown into a cargo van. This is not a refrigerated food service vehicle and in no sense of the word are these corpses being handled as if they were intended for human consumption.  

The blood of the innocent and defenseless does not cleanse your soul. It stains it. 

The blood of the innocent and defenseless does not cleanse your soul. It stains it. 

For more information, please visit EndChickensAsKaporos.com

  All images Copyright 2016 Vegan Future Now

  

 

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