Los Angeles Times

The freedom to sacrifice birds?

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Re “Animal rights activists can’t stop a religious rite,” Oct. 20

I have worked for a number of years with the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos. Despite what lawyer Josh Blackman asserts, the practice of kapparot is a custom not in keeping with Jewish teachings about mercy to animals.

Most rabbis are opposed to the practice of using live chickens, which are sacrificed on public streets or in neighborho­od yards. While practition­ers claim this is a religious right, they charge the penitent enough to turn this into a money-making operation. The dead chickens then are given to the poor, but one might ask why a poor person would want to eat someone else’s sins.

Since money or other objects may be used in the ceremony instead of living, sentient beings, the well documented abuse of the chickens is neither necessary nor right. Susan M. Tellem Malibu

The mischief that animal rights groups do goes way beyond their opposition to a thousand-year-old religious rite involving the sacrifice of chickens.

These groups relentless­ly promote the belief that man has no right to derive a benefit from animals. Yet they cynically use wild animals in particular to raise tons of money to foster their organizati­onal beliefs, while the animals themselves suffer from overcrowde­d ranges and local population­s cope with the privations that these animals can cause.

Rather than grandstand­ing lawsuits and public relations events to show their concern for wild animals while hiding their selfish interests, these organizati­ons ought to spend some time coming to grips with evolutiona­ry reality. By the same token, innocent outsiders should study their pitches before giving them more money to cause more mischief. Godfrey Harris Los Angeles

Whereas in some cultures it is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged that men marry children, and other cultures enable wholesale ritualisti­c slaughters of animals for religious sacrifice, there are those persons who find these practices to be repellant and barbaric.

It matters little to those people, of whom I am one, whether the cruelty to children, women or animals is done under the guise of religious observance or cultural tradition, since we find those practices to be outside the humanitari­an values to which we hold dear.

The law of any country allowing, enabling or condoning such cruelties is unacceptab­le to we who eschew cruelty to man or beast, and we can only hope that others will one day allow their minds to be opened to the possibilit­y that we can live fulfilling lives without harming others. Elaine Livesey-Fassel Los Angeles

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