Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Love Thy Chicken

The Alliance to End Chicken as Kapparos has my backing! Check out their website for fun facts how chickens are tortured during kapparos.
To truly invoke God's compassion, we must be compassionate to His creations. Giving tzedakah instead will be of more benefit to the poor and will definitely score points with the Man upstairs.


iTripped said...

They have my support for purely selfish reasons- I don't want to have another smelly chicken swung over my head. For years I begged my parents to forgo our annual trip and let me use money instead, but they were insistent that it was our minhag (although my mother remembers using a fish that had spent the week swimming around in her bathtub). Thank goodness we skipped going the last two years.

While I've never seen the chickens tortured outright, I clearly remember the overcrowded cages filled with squawking dirty chickens, and trying to hold my breath as long as possible so I wouldn't have to inhale the stench.

Yedid Nefesh said...

I know some people do not hold by Kapparot

Princess Lea said...

iTripped: Hah! My family happened to have never done kapparos ourselves, and I am also an animal lover - I probably would have asked my parents if I could bring the chicken home.

It can't be too pleasant for chickens in overcrowded, filthy cages.

Once upon a time, a man took a chicken from his own backyard, did kapparos, brought it to the shochet and ensure that a poor man had dinner. What happens to these chickens afterward? Chances are they are not fit to be consumed. Using money at least benefits the poor and has no discomfort (whether human or fowl) attached.

%Shocked% said...

You addressed the issue as if it's an issue that can't be solved. If the lack of space for the chickens to breathe is the problem, that can be solved. If it's the rough-shod way in which the shochtim are handling the chickens that can be dealt with as well. But do you think that, in general, the chickens that you eat are treated any better?

As an aside, my uncle works for one of the biggest kosher slaughterhouses in America and that's where he takes his kapparos to after his family has used them for kapparos. In my hometown, the same is true.

Princess Lea said...

I don't have any fantasies that chickens are treated any better in a slaughterhouse, but at least there is some regulation to ensure the chicken remains kosher.

In NY, at least, kapparos can be a very messy and unthinkingly cruel business.

But I am also approaching this from the perspective of baltashchis. Poor people nowadays would benefit more from money than from a chicken, and that was the spirit in which the minhag began - that the poor man would be taken care of. We do tashlich, which is really the same premise in terms of symbolically ridding ourselves from sin; kapparos is symbolism as well. No one thinks the chicken is the actual carrier of our aveiros (do they?)

If at least some animals could be spared pain, is it so terrible to refrain?

%Shocked% said...

Sorry, I have no idea what that means. At what point after the animal is shechted can it become treif? In the slaughterhouses they check their knives after every few hundred chickens or so and check the occasional chicken. It's all based on rov if I recall correctly. If something specific happened regarding the knife then they throw out the whole batch. I think... it's been a while.

Been there, done that, although I wasn't there by my own volition.

Perhaps, perhaps not. I'm not sure where you got the idea that the chickens don't make it to poor people's houses for yom tov (I couldn't find the "fact sheet" on the website...?). As well, it's quite possible that the proceeds of the sales of said chickens (to the general public perhaps) goes towards the poor. It's a matter of knowing the facts, but I don't know them.

Perhaps. That's an excellent question for which I haven't formulated an opinion quite yet. But I do know that minhagim are not things to be taken lightly.

After a few minutes of thought, my response to the question is threefold: 1) How do we know what's painful for a chicken? 2) Assuming we do know, how far should that be taken? Is there a maximum threshold of pain allowed? I don't know if there's an empirical way to measure pain, but what is considered to be the utopian habitat for a chicken that anything aside from that would be bothersome for it? 3) We're making the huge assumption that the conditions they endure at kapparos is worse than at a slaughterhouse. Are they worse?

Princess Lea said...

A mum can be acquired before shchita, such as by breaking the chickens wings or legs, meaning it will never end up being eaten.

I don't think this conversation should enter the realm of what chickens do and do not feel, as I think none of us here are zoologists or biologists who can give an actual answer.

But the fact is that kapparos now is not what kapparos used to be; that's why my family no longer does it. And keeping chickens locked up with no water in tight cramped conditions with possible broken appendages would be uncomfortable, at least, if not downright torturous.

However, it is, as always, an individual choice, and since it is already past Succos, this apparently endless debate need not be dragged out.

%Shocked% said...

True, but I’d think that these shochtim, who can shecht a few hundred chickens an hour would pick up on such a thing.

100%, and that’s my point. If we don’t know, why are we assuming that they are in pain? Because they’re packed in a tighter space than we would appreciate?

My family never did kapparos with chickens (my parents aren’t into animals lol, I might add, much to myself and my siblings’ chagrin). I can’t discuss that because, again, I don’t know what’s uncomfortable or torturous for a chicken.

However, it is, as always, an individual choice, and since it is already past Succos, this apparently endless debate need not be dragged out.

Why do you always do that? Every time (that I recall) you get into a discussion/debate you end it prematurely. Why can’t we just talk about it? I’m not trying to attack you, and I’m sorry if you feel that way. I’m just trying to understand your point of view…

Princess Lea said...

Because, I have stated my opinions over and over, you state your opinions over and over, and frankly, neither of us are going to change our minds. I think it is a man thing to constantly debate, but women just want to have a bottom line and be done already. A classmate of mine used to say women can't learn Gemara because after debating forever the answer would be "Tayku," they'd throw a bench through the window.

%Shocked% said...

Lol, if you say so. I thought we were countering each other's points with each additional comment but if you feel differently, fair enough.

Haha! Great line! If that's the case, that's the case. But I think we could have come to a resolution about what we agree, disagree and don't know. Nu nu.

%Shocked% said...

(You're probably rolling your eyes that you're getting another comment from me on this post, but bear with me and I think you'll like the follow-up)

I meant to write about this months ago, but kept on getting distracted by other things.

So, I spoke to my uncle who is employed by Empire Kosher and he informed me of a few things.

He sent me over to the website (you should check it out- www.empirekosher.com) where you can see that the animals, are in fact, well taken care of. Strike 1 against something I thought.

He also told me that most places are podeh the chickens for money which is then handed out. There are some places, Beis Hatavshil (in Lakewood) is one he mentioned that gives away the chickens, but he made it sound like that was the exception to the rule.

He said that there are mumim that a shochet would pick up on, but other mumim that would practically be unable to be spotted.

So, there's what I've discovered.