Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Suit Claims Kaporos Violates California's Business Practices Law

A lawsuit was filed last week in a California federal district court by an animal rights group challenging the legality under California law of the pre-Yom Kippur ritual of kaporos (or kapparot) practiced by many observant Jews.  The ritual involves waving a live chicken overhead to symbolically transfer one's sins to it, and then slaughtering the chicken. The complaint (full text) in United Poultry Concerns v. Chabad of Irvine, (CD CA, filed 9/29/2016) alleges that the ritual as implemented by Chabad of Irvine constitutes an "unlawful business practice" under California's Business and Professions Code because the practice violates the state's ban on "intentional and malicious killing of animals" other than for use as food (California Penal Code Sec. 597(a), 599c).  The complaint adds:
taking out vengeance on an innocent animal for one’s own shortcomings is exactly the type of societal evil the legislature sought to prohibit in enacting this provision. 
According to the complaint Chabad charges $27 to each person for furnishing and disposing of the chicken, making a $25 profit per chicken. The suit seeks a preliminary and permanent injunctions and declaratory relief. On Monday, UPC issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.