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New York City police are investigating a rabbi's complaint that he received a thousand threatening e-mails over the slaughter of chickens before a Jewish holy day.

Rabbi Shea Hecht of the National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education says the e-mails were sent by supporters of a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals campaign opposing the ritual. Police said Tuesday some people added threatening and anti-Semitic comments to an online PETA form letter.

The ritual involves the slaughter of a chicken to atone for one's sins before Yom Kippur, which begins at sunset Wednesday. The Brooklyn-based organization slaughters about 4,000 chickens each year.

A PETA spokesman says the ritual is abusive and unnecessary.