Sunday, October 27, 2019

After Kaporos: The Bushwick brownstone that serves as a chicken rescue center 

Throughout the three days leading up to Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement” in Judaism, roughly 50,000 chickens are slaughtered in pop-up butcher stands in the streets of Hasidic communities in Crown Heights, South Williamsburg and Borough Park.

Animal rights activists have protested the ritual, called Kaporos or Kapparot, for nearly a decade, most opting in the past two years for more peaceful demonstrations aimed at providing the animals with comfort rather than clashing outright with religious adherents.

At a Kaporos site on Eastern Parkway and Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights on Monday, activists fed chickens through crates while others confronted the families buying chickens and used their phones to record them.

For some, like animal activist Rocky Schwartz, the action doesn’t stop at protesting. For the past two years, Schwartz and a group of volunteers have rescued and rehabilitated dozens of chickens in the basement of her Bushwick brownstone during the week of Kaporos. Working with an avian specialist vet in Long Island, they triaged more than 100 birds this year. Now, they are preparing to transport them to sanctuaries across the country.

According to Schwartz, there are at least four other makeshift, home-based rescue operations in Brooklyn rehabilitating hundreds of escaped chickens.


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