A 3-2 ruling by the Appellate Division First Department in Manhattan is another win for the Jewish community and the minhag of Kapporos.
The case was an appeal pushed by “The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos” which sued and lost a case in 2015 that sought to end the ancient tradition on the basis that it violates animal cruelty and sanitation laws in 2015.
Justice Judith Gische wrote for the majority that the plaintiffs were not just seeking to compel authorities to enforce the law, but to compel an outcome they desired.
“The plaintiffs are really challenging the core decision by law enforcement not to arrest or take other legal action,” Gische wrote.
“Although they may be upsetting to nonadherents of such practice, the United State Supreme Court has recognized animal sacrifice as a religious sacrament,” the ruling read.
In a dissent, Justice Ellen Gesmer wrote that authorities couldn’t ignore animal cruelty laws.
“It is not at all clear that the alleged treatment of poultry in the days leading up to Kaporos, or in improper slaughter, is justifiable,” Gesmer wrote.
“(Authorities) have, at a minimum, an obligation to determine whether or not a reported violation has occurred.”
The group, which organizes protests in front of Kapparos centers every year, plan to appeal to the state’s highest court.
“A 3-2 vote on the appellate level is not very common and leaves the door open to proceed further,” their attorney said.