Boston – A flock of 63 caged chickens that will be slaughtered in Erev Yom Kippur ritual sparked an unusual investigation by city inspectors and animal-control officers after a neighbor complained the fowls were being foully used.
The chickens, which are being kept in 12 yellow crates behind an Orthodox Jewish congregation on Chestnut Hill Avenue Brighton, will be slaughtered during Kapores.
“It’s much more humane than non-kosher slaughter,” said the rabbi keeping the birds, who gave his name as Pinchus. “In Jewish law, there are whole writings against animal cruelty.”
His neighbor, Gail Goldstein, sees the situation differently. “I woke up this morning to this horrible sight,” said Goldstein, an animal lover who called police after she saw the caged birds in her neighbor’s back yard. “It’s just torture.”
An animal-control officer said the chickens, who were being kept in the shade, were not in any immediate danger and would be given more water and food by their rabbi keeper.
The chickens were next to a slaughter machine and near a sign advertising Kapores for a $20 fee. The rabbi denied they were for sale. “He was most cooperative,” said Sgt. Charles Rudack, a Boston Animal Control hearing officer.
The rabbi told inspectors he did not have a permit to keep the livestock as required by a city ordinance, but that may not apply because of a state law that exempts livestock for ritual slaughter from regulation as long as the animals are not killed for financial profit. “They are not for sale,” said the rabbi, who said he gives the chickens to the poor.
Pinchus denied following another traditional custom of swinging a chicken three times over the head before slaughtering it.