(JTA) — An animal rights group filed a lawsuit against two Southern California police departments for not enforcing animal cruelty laws by halting a pre-Yom Kippur ritual.
The lawsuit filed this week naming both the Irvine and Los Angeles police departments is aimed at stopping Chabad of Irvine’s kapparot ceremony in which a chicken is swung by its legs and then slaughtered. It is the second attempt in recent years by the San Diego-based Animal Protection and Rescue League to halt the ceremony.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana says both police departments protect the “illegal killing of animals” by not cracking down on the kapparot ceremonies, the Orange County Register reported.
A lawsuit filed by the group against Chabad in 2015 on the basis of animal cruelty said the chickens are crammed tightly into cages and mishandled, and are disposed of and not used for food.
A federal judge in May dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Virginia-based United Poultry Concerns claiming that the practice violates the state’s unfair competition law.
Kapparot is an ancient practice performed annually by some Jews between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. By performing kapparot, one’s sins are said to be symbolically transferred to the chicken as part of the process of atonement ahead of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The meat of the chicken is then donated to charity.
Some Jews perform the ritual using money in place of a chicken.