ANIMAL rights activists are calling for Orthodox Jews to scrap one of their most cherished religious rituals.
They have demanded that the sacrifice of chickens before Yom Kippur – the Holy day of atonement – is axed.
A group called the Animal Protection and Rescue League has filed papers with a US court calling for the practice to be banned and giving them powers to make citizen arrests if it is not.
It is an extraordinary request which legal experts say has no chance of succeeding because it would violate everyone’s right to freely practice their faith.
Court papers filed in Los Angeles claim the ritual of kaporos – the killing of chickens – is a criminal act.
The First Liberty Institute, a non-profit law firm that defends religious freedom, is now prepared to intervene in the case to protect the Jews from notorious activists.
The Institute spokesperson said: “These intolerant activists are trying to engage in vigilante justice, but, in doing so, they are denying basic constitutional rights to Orthodox Jews throughout the Los Angeles community.
“No American should fear going to jail when they are freely exercising their faith.”
First Liberty has also called on the activists to drop the suit which it called “frivolous” and had major implications for religious freedom.
The spokesman added: “These activists are abusing the judicial system, harassing Orthodox Jewish communities simply because they do not agree with their religious beliefs.”
APRL is not the first California-based activist group to attack Orthodox Jews for the sacrifice.