Having staked out many locations throughout Los Angeles for several nights, activists finally spotted a truck carrying over 2000 hens crammed and suffocating in battery cages, pulling in after midnight to Yeshiva Ohr Elchenon Chabad. This morning, a woman answering calls there for its director Rabbi Spalter, refused to give her name but said, emphatically, "we had nothing to do with it."
The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise states on its web site that some Jewish leaders feel that people misinterpret the significance of the ritual. The belief that the ceremony of Kapparot can transfer a person's sins to a bird, and that one's sins could then be eradicated is contrary to Jewish teachings. If the ritual could remove a person's sins, what would be the need for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement?
The organizers of the Kapparot ceremony claimed that the chickens are given to the poor after slaughter but video footage of the ceremony clearly shows the dead chickens being discarded into garbage bags and then being loaded into a sanitation truck. "They tell practitioners that the dead birds are given to the poor, but that is rubbish," said David Rutan, an attorney who served as a legal observer at the protest. "Besides documenting discarded bags of chickens in dumpsters, that would be a violation of the health code to use chickens for food that were not killed in a licensed slaughterhouse." Mr. Rutan added that there is no prior stunning in Kosher slaughter and that the throat is slit so that the bird still lives allowing the heart to pump out the blood. He said, in an exclusive interview, that this practice is currently untouchable legally. "I think a case could be made for the pulling back of the wings and for any deviation from kosher slaughter which causes more suffering," he said.