Kapparos Lawsuit in California Dismissed

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Chickens used for kapparos, in Los Angeles. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by an animal-rights against Chabad of Irvine, California, over shechitah of chickens used for kapparos.

The suit by United Poultry Concerns suit alleged that accepting donations to slaughter chickens used for kapparos constitutes an unfair business practice, arguing that the Chabad  charges “a fee of $27 to kill and dispose of each chicken,” whereas the actual cost of each chicken is $2.

But Judge Andre Birotte Jr. wrote in his decision Friday that “Chabad of Irvine does not participate nor compete as a business in the commercial market by performing a religious atonement ritual that involves donations.”

“We hope this victory will encourage everyone to live in peace and tolerance of everyone’s religious beliefs,” Rabbi Alter Tenenbaum, of Chabad of Irvine, said in a statement.

“We’re appealing Judge Birotte’s ruling,” Bryan Pease, an attorney representing United Poultry Concerns, said Tuesday.

Pease also is representing another nonprofit group, the Animal Protection and Rescue League, in a state court lawsuit against Chabad of Irvine that alleges violations of state animal cruelty, environmental and sanitation laws. That trial is scheduled for June 19.