JACKSON–The Jackson Township Council on Tuesday introduced an ordinance that would legislate the religious sacrifice of animals within its borders. Under the new law, which will be voted on at the November council meeting, practitioners of religious faiths may sacrifice animals during their rituals provided it is done on their own private property or on religious land.
The ordinance comes just two weeks after the Jewish religious ritual of Kapparot made headlines in local newspapers after hundreds of birds were found discarded in trash bags and dumpsters.
Shore News Network reached out to Jackson Township officials on October 16th regarding the practice being conducted in Jackson but received no replies from township officials.
Under the law, Councilman Alex Sauickie said that federal law allows the ritual, but the new law would allow the township to regulate the practice. Sauickie said that if the practice is not done according to religious standards, violators of the law could be charged with animal cruelty charges.
Residents at the meeting noted that the township codebook does not define a “House of Worship” and speculated, “What’s a religious building? A religious supermarket?”
Jackson and Toms River both face growing Orthodox Jewish communities and as the population grows, cultural differences between the community have usually ended up being discussed inside the town hall or in a courtroom.
At time, during the public comment session, acting Council President Barry Calogero defended the township’s decision by yelling at residents who were voicing opposition to the proposals. At one point, Calogero closed public comment to quell dissent against the plans presented by him and his colleagues.
Jackson that night introduced two measures that sought to accommodate the growing Orthodox Jewish population. The other ordinance was the proposal of a township-wide eruv.