Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau published a letter, Sunday, in which he called on people who engage in the ritual of kapparot - transfer of sins to a chicken - to do their utmost to avoid cruelty to animals. In the ritual, the chicken is waved over the head of a person before it is slaughtered for food for the needy. Most people wave coins over their heads with the money donated to buy food for the needy.
Rabbi Lau's letter was in response to the Ten Lehayot Lihiyot (Let Animals Live) organization, which outlined the suffering the chickens often endure, being kept in cramped quarters with no food or water in the hot sun. The organization said there are no signs in the field that people are paying attention to instructions against the mistreatment of animals that were issued by the Chief Rabbinate and the Health Ministry.