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Penthesilea, Zenobia, & Lillian


Penthesilea, Zenobia, and Lillian, named for two warrior queens and a firm conviction that Lillian's name has always been Lillian, arrived at Darrowby in September 2021 as the result of a team of activists working together to rescue birds from the barbaric ritual of Kaporos. Practiced by some but by no means all followers of Judaism during Yom Kippur, Kaporos is not required by Jewish law and involves "cleansing" a person of sin by torturing and then killing a chicken to whom the person's sins have allegedly been transferred. The claim that the slaughtered chicken then goes on to provide food to the homeless has been disproven, as animal activists find thousands of dead birds on the streets each year after these rituals. 

The birds used in these rituals are six weeks old and live in crowded, filthy cages, often going without food or water, until shipped for Kaporos. 50,000 baby birds die this way each year.

Each year, activists rescue as many birds as they can from this horrific practice, and in September of 2021, we were able to take in three hens who were driven to us from New York. These girls were so young when they arrived that their eyes were still blue, and they peeped rather than clucked. Despite having known only cruelty and neglect at the hands of humans they were instantly affectionate, snuggly, adventurous, and full of a love of life.

Cornish crosses like our girls are bred to put on weight fast; they are the chickens you eat when you eat chicken. No one who has ever held one of these birds, fed one from their hand, or seen them run in joy across a pasture, could ever reasonably claim that these beautiful beings deserve to be crammed into a cage with five others, have their beak cut off, be deprived of fresh air and water, and then be killed at six weeks old, yet if you condemn Kaporos but still eat chicken, that is exactly what you are encouraging. Our three girls, and the 6 billion chickens killed in the U.S. each year, deserve better. 

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