Animal Lovers Can’t Stop Ritual Chicken Slaughter

MANHATTAN (CN) — Brooklyn residents and animal rights activists cannot force New York City to block the annual Orthodox Jewish ritual slaughter of chickens known as Kaporos, a New York appellate court ruled this week.

The 3-2 opinion by the Appellate Division First Department in Manhattan affirmed a ruling from the New York County Supreme Court, which declined to block the pre-Yom Kippur chicken slaughter.

The plaintiff, the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, sought writ of mandamus to compel New York City to enforce laws to preserve public health and prevent animal cruelty.

In dismissing, the appellate court found that the plaintiffs “do not have a “clear legal right” to dictate which laws are enforced and how, or against whom.

Justice Judith Gische wrote for the majority: “None of the laws or regulations plaintiffs rely on preclude the City defendants from deciding whether or not to enforce those laws in the context of Kaporos.”

Writing in dissent, Associate Justice Ellen Gesmer cited public health issues involved in the ritual. She found that the plaintiffs “have established, at a minimum, that the police have a mandatory duty under the Agriculture and Markets Law, that portion of their complaint seeking an order compelling them to ‘issue summonses where warranted … issue violations where warranted [and] properly engage in arrests where warranted’ should not be subject to dismissal on this motion.”

Gesmer added in dissent: “Plaintiffs’ allegation that the City defendants ‘encourag[e], assist[], and participat[e]’ in the non-City defendants’ violation of the specified laws and regulations is essentially an allegation that they have abdicated their duty to the point that they actively undermine a law they are mandated to enforce.”

Associate Justice Richard Andrias also dissented.

Crown Heights resident Rina Deych filed the original complaint in Kings County Court in October 2014. She called Kaporos “an event that involves the torture and slaughter of chickens on public streets and sidewalks.”

When that lawsuit stalled due to procedural issues, her group refiled in New York County Supreme Court in July 2015, calling the ritual slaughter a “public health hazard.”

That court granted the city’s motion to dismiss in September 2015.

Neither party responded to requests for comment Thursday.

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