United Poultry Concerns
24 September 2009
For Immediate Release Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875
Gary Loewenthal 703-532-0731
United Poultry Concerns Activists Will Protest Cruelty to Chickens
Kapparot Chicken “Swinging” Ritual at Chabad Shul of Potomac, MD

Machipongo, Va. September 24, 2009 - United Poultry Concerns will stage a protest demonstration at the Chabad Shul of Potomac in the front parking lot at 11621 Seven Locks and Gainsborough Road in Potomac, Maryland. This is where a kapparot chicken “swinging” ritual is scheduled for Thursday, September 24 from 7PM to 8:30PM.

Kapparot (atonement) is a ritual preceding Yom Kippur in which many Orthodox Jews swing chickens around their heads while reciting a chant about transferring the punishment God would otherwise confer on them onto the birds. The chickens are then slaughtered, on or off the premises, or simply abandoned or thrown into garbage bags.

Kapparot chicken “swinging” defenders claim the ritual is “compassionate.” This claim is completely refuted by eyewitness accounts, photographs and videotapes documenting the suffering, crying birds and the callous treatment they receive at the hands of the practitioners (www.upc-online.org/kaparos).

Kapparot practitioners typically hold the birds with their wings pulled backward. This is a painful experience and potentially injurious to the ligaments and tendons of these birds, who have already sat miserably cramped in transport crates, often for days without food or water, before being “swung.” The abuse of these birds is fully consistent with the fact that kapparot practitioners regard them as mere symbolic receptacles for their personal punishment.

The use of chickens in kapparot rituals is not required by the Torah or the Talmud. Most observers swing coins for charity. In recent years, a groundswell of opposition to the kapparot chicken “swinging” and slaughter has been growing in New York City, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem. People are sick of the animal cruelty and want it stopped.

United Poultry Concerns recently learned that a kapparot ritual was scheduled to be held at the Chabad Shul of Potomac, and we will be there to oppose it Thursday evening.

For more information, please contact Karen Davis at 757-678-7875 or Gary Loewenthal at 703-532-0731.

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. www.upc-online.org.

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