A planned workshop in Berkeley, Calif., on kosher slaughter — during which 15 hens were to be killed — was canceled Thursday amid public outcry from animal rights groups and others.
Urban Adamah initially stood firm that its long-planned event would continue as scheduled on Sunday, May 4, even in the face of activists who threatened to picket and protest outside the urban farm and education center.
But on Thursday, Adam Berman, founder and executive director of Urban Adamah, a nonprofit grounded in Jewish values, sent out an email explaining the cancellation.
“We regret to inform you that we are canceling our shechita (ritual slaughter) workshop planned for this Sunday,” the email began. “Our landlord has asked us to cancel the event. We do not have explicit permission in our lease for this activity.
“It has also become clear that there is a significant protest being organized outside the farm during the workshop. The noise and disruption expected from the protesters would very likely have caused undue stress to the chickens and the program participants, and prevent us from holding a safe, educational and compassionate workshop.”
In a phone interview with J. on May 1, Berman would not comment on the fate of the chickens now that the workshop is canceled. “We don’t yet know what we are doing with the chickens. We are considering our options,” he said, declining to elaborate.
Berman said the Urban Adamah staff wanted to go ahead with the event, even after opposition began mounting this week in the form of phone calls and emails to Urban Adamah, email blasts from animal rights activists and several groups calling for protests. There was even a Facebook page titled “Protest in Berkeley: Save 15 Young Hens from Slaughter” that featured a stark image of a chicken having its throat slashed.