Unprecedented Opposition to "kaaparot" Ceremony This year From Virtually all Circles
Some have sought to preserve the spirit of this custom and recommended that money be used, instead of chickens and that money should then be donated to the poor.
As mentioned, this ceremony has never been without controversy; no less an authority as Rabbi Joseph Caro who composed the Halachic Compendium followed by most Orthodox Jews, the Shulkhan Arukh, called it "a custom of the Emorites" i.e. a pagan custom that has no place in Judaism. However others disagreed ad it became particularly popular among Eastern European Ashkenazim and those who follow Lurianic Kaballah (Hassidim and some Sephardic communities--although there was some opposition even among certain Kabbalists).
This year, opposition to the custom has emerged from unexpected places see here and here .
Already in the 19th century, there was unease about the custom among certain circles of Eastern European Jews. The traditional Maskil, Moshe Leib Lilienblum, chose not to mock and assail it but rather to leave it as a matter of personal choice , he urged. Here is the relevant quote from here
Kapparot, a theory as to its origins here