300 live chickens abandoned on Brooklyn street, animal rights activists race to scene

Animal rights activists raced to a busy Brooklyn intersection Friday where hundreds of chickens were abandoned after they fell from a delivery truck, the Animal Care Centers of New York City said.

About 300 crated Cornish Cross chickens were discovered on Flushing Ave. and Williamsburg St. in South Williamsburg around 11:15 a.m., an Animal Care Centers spokesperson said.

The animal welfare organization believes the chickens were intended for use in the Orthodox Jewish ritual known as Kaporos.

Kaporos is performed by swinging a chicken around one’s head three times while reciting a prayer for forgiveness before slitting the chicken’s throat. The practice is done on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

The owner of the slaughterhouse responsible for transporting the chickens declined to rescue them, said Katy Hansen of the Animal Care Centers.

At the intersection, animal rights activists found 30 dead chickens, and saved 253. Fourteen chickens were being treated at a veterinary hospital, Hansen said.

It is estimated between 50,000 and 100,000 chickens are sacrificed each year during Kaporos.

“Many chickens die from exposure, dehydration, and malnutrition while sitting outside without access to food or water, waiting, before anyone even uses them for the Kaporos ritual,” Hansen said.

Animal rights activists have argued for years for an end the annual Kaporos ritual.

Last year, The Alliance To End Chickens as Kaporos sought to revive a lawsuit against the city Health Department that said the custom as it is practiced on public streets in Brooklyn and elsewhere was a health risk during the coronavirus pandemic.