Tens of thousands of chickens are being slaughtered on the streets of Brooklyn this week as ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities take part in the annual Kaporos ritual. The controversial tradition, which many rabbis have long opposed, requires adherents to swing a chicken over their heads three times while reciting prayers transferring their sins to the birds, which are then slaughtered. (The chickens are supposed to be donated to the poor, but activists say they've seen carcasses discarded in Brooklyn dumpsters.) Last night the slaughter was quietly proceeding just off of Kent Street in South Williamsburg, where participants did their best to stop passersby from photographing the ritual.
Animal rights activists have been staging increasingly high-profile demonstrations at various Kaporos locations in Brooklyn this month after a judge declined to issue an injunction stopping the slaughter. (The plaintiffs had argued that the blood and stench from the slaughter amounts to a public health risk.) Later today we'll have more from Kaporos protests last night in Crown Heights, where participants were equally determined to prevent the ritual from being documented.