Look around. Several chicken Kapparos services explicitly self-advertise (or even actually fulfill!) self-imposed strictures against Tza’ar Ba’alei Chaim. How did this happen? Who deserves credit? Rabbis? Bah! No, Goyim!
In many respects our history follows the following funny pattern:
- Hashem teaches us a new Mitzvah.
- We obey said Mitzvah, rejecting the power and influence of the Goyim.
- Influenced by the Goyim, this Mitzvah is obeyed less and less.
- We reject said Mitzvah entirely.
- No one keeps the Mitzvah.
- Goyim rediscover the Mitzvah (without – or with mistaken – lacunae) for all the wrong reasons (שלא לשמה), and begin taunting us for being worse than them in this respect. Aren’t you guys the Chosen People?! Etc.
- We hold out; learning the wrong is easier than learning the right (ילפי מקלקלתא).
- We break and begin observing the Mitzvah, as copycats.
- The Goyim lose their appetite fast, so it’s just us again.
- Rinse and repeat.
(The model is often longer with rabbis justifying rebellion ipso facto, then resisting doing Teshuvah worse than anyone, because “the Heter is real!”, “Don’t be machmir!”, etc.)
So a big thank you to the Goyim who took up our case and thank you, as well, to the renegade Jews who slavishly copied them in insisting we follow “Goyish” morals!
(There are various possible problems with Kapparos, and animal suffering is only one of them.)