LOS ANGELES — An Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Orange County has won a suit filed against it by an animal rights group alarmed by the ritual killing of chickens.

Chabad of Irvine, the synagogue, was sued by United Poultry Concerns, a chicken advocacy group based in Virginia that was concerned about the killing of chickens at the synagogue during a religious ritual. The court dismissed the case on May 12.

“[The] plaintiff’s core mission involves running a sanctuary for chickens and the benefits of chickens as companion animals,” according to the court's decision. "They filed suit against the synagogue in September of 2016. They wanted the synagogue to either not accept donations for slaughtering the chickens or to use the slaughtered chickens for food."

The ritual in question is an annual ceremony called Kapparo in which a chicken is killed to forgive someone's sins. 

"[The] plaintiff alleges that [the] defendant orders and receives hundreds of chickens for the Kapparot ceremony and charges a fee of $27 to ritually kill and discard each chicken.” 

The synagogue’s attorneys argued that the ritual did not violate California law and that restricting the slaughter would violate the synagogue's freedom of religion.

"We are overjoyed that the judge saw the wisdom of protecting our ability to practice a cherished tradition of our faith," Rabbi Alter Tenenbaum of Chabad of Irvine, said. "We hope this victory will encourage everyone to live in peace and tolerance of everyone's religious beliefs."  

The case was dismissed with prejudice, which means it cannot be re-filed. 

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