August 8, 2001 – Northwest Airlines Response

“Northwest Airlines new policy effective Aug. 15, 2001 of carrying day-old poultry as cargo rather than as U.S. mail is based on the welfare of the animals. Northwest has received boxes of crushed poultry and shipments that do not meet our temperature standards via the U.S. mail system which have resulted in dead birds. Sending the chicks via cargo gives Northwest better control over the shipments and helps to ensure the health of the poultry. Northwest’s cargo rates for these shipments are competitive with Priority and Express Mail services and in most cases the cargo service provides same day delivery (airport to airport).”
Eric McGowen
Supervisor, Customer Relations
Northwest/KLM Airlines”
There are a number of problems with this response:
1. If they are receiving damaged boxes this is a procedural problem that I am sure we can fix by working with the Post Office.
2. Historical statistics show that shipping birds through the US Mail is safe, losses have been under 1%.
3. There is a temperature limit of 85 degrees F already in place, if the Post Office is giving them birds to ship above this limit that again is a procedural problem that can be fixed by working with the Post Office. The fact is, since these birds are born in 100 degree F and we recommend that they are kept above 90 degrees for the first several weeks.
4. We called last week and got a quote to ship a box of 25 birds to Northern California, that quote was for $122.00. That is not competitive with Priority Mail at $5.40.
5. They also mention that this service is from airport to airport, NOT to your door like the US mail. You will have to pick up the birds at the airport which Northwest uses.
6. The time required to fill out paperwork, figure out the closest airport to you, and deliver each individual box to Northwest will increase our costs, which will have to be passed on to our customers.

August 8, 2001 – Progress Report

hank you all for your response. To-date almost 10,000 of you have taken the time to add your name and comments to our e-mail campaign.
The first round of e-mail has been sent out to your Senators. The following Senators could not be reached by e-mail so your comments were printed and mailed to them.
Nelson-FL, Grassle-IA, Kohl-WI, Wyden-OR, Boxer-CA,
Clinton-NY, Cleland-GA, Sarbanes-MD, Corzine-NJ,
Akken-VA, Santorum-PA, Cantwell-WA, Warner-VA,
Hollings-SC, Kyl-AZ, Daschle-SD, Wellstone-MN,
We have sent out the e-mail to your Representatives and are waiting to see how many are returned undeliverable. We will mail your comments to any we do not reach by e-mail.
According to a new study, members of Congress are inundated with so many e-mail messages that lawmakers routinely ignore most of them. Please call or write (using US Mail) Congressmen/Congresswomen and explain our problem to them personally. You can obtain phone numbers and addresses at and or call the Senate and House Operator at 202/224-3121 (Senate) or 202/225-3121(House).
Because of the e-mail response out of Washington, we have changed the page on our website so that you can print a letter and mail it to your congressmen and congresswomen.
We will print the response we have already received and send them to each of the Senators and Representatives, but we will not be sending out any more e-mails. Individual letters directly from you with your city’s Postmark will have a bigger impact.
We have been in contact with Iowa’s Senators Harkin and Grassley. They and their staff are working to solve this problem. At this time Northwest Airlines are not backing off their decision and the August 15th deadline is fast approaching.
We realize that it is only a matter of time that all airlines will stop carrying day-old poultry if Northwest is allowed to quit.
Associated Press has picked up the story. Some of you may see it in your local papers. We have had a lot of local press coverage, but we need your help to get coverage in your local press. Call your local TV, Radio, and Newspapers and ask them to cover this story and how it affects you. We would be happy to supply any information the press requires. Have them call our toll free number 1-800-456-3280.
We are working with Stephen S. Boynton, Counsel and Lobbyist for the North American Gamebird Association (the pheasant and quail hatcheries). He has been working with a
number of Senate and House Committees to help get legislation passed to force all of the airlines to comply with their U.S. Mail Contract. He said in an Aug. 4 letter sent to several hatcheries nationwide:
“Every attempt has been made to reach an accord with the USPS and the airlines – even with the intervention of Congress – but the airlines and the USPS remain firm. Thus, in my judgment, the matter will only be resolved by legislation, or the threat of legislation, to correct the problem. I have been invited by Congress to draft legislation on the issue and before Congress returns from its August recess, such legislation shall be prepared.”
This has become a true grassroots operation. The circle keeps growing wider as more and more people get involved. Call your congressmen; tell them to support legislation to
force all airlines to live up to their U.S. Mail contract.
Let your voice be heard, it’s the American Way. The fight is not over.

August 8, 2001 – Band-Aid


Thank-you for your help, those letters, e-mails, and phone calls have paid off. The pressure was put on Northwest Airlines and the Airline Industry as a whole. Northwest has postponed its deadline for halting mail shipments of baby chickens until September First.
Mary Beth Schubert spokeswoman for Northwest Airlines said “Northwest Airlines is working with the Air Transport Association to develop an industry-wide agreement with the U.S. Postal Service for the transportation of live poultry as U.S. mail”.
We are guardedly optimistic that this will result in guidelines that will be to the benefit of everyone involved.
Now we need to keep pressure on Washington to pass legislation which will give the U.S. Postal Service the power to force all contracted mail carriers to carry all of the mail and not allow them to pick and choose.
We have changed our website e-mail campaign to a U.S. mail campaign. You can go to our website and print out letters for your senators and representative, over 600 have done so in the last few days.
You should all pat yourself on the back for the great work you have done to this point.
The American way is alive and working for all of us.
We will keep you posted as things develop.

August 1, 2001 – We Need Your Help

The United States Post Office is the only service in the United States, which will carry day old poultry. UPS, Federal Express, Airborne Express, and every other carrier in the US will not carry poultry. As all of you who have bought live day-old poultry from us know, we ship your order for baby chicks, ducklings, goslings, etc. to you via the airlines. We are able to do this because all airlines have a very lucrative contract with the United States Post Office to carry mail.
We were just notified that as of August 15, 2001 Northwest has decided to join a long list of other airlines, which refuse to carry day-old poultry as United States Mail. (In the past the post office has allowed the airlines to pick and choose which type of US Mail they wish to carry.) This decision by Northwest Airlines will probably force the few remaining airlines that do carry poultry to follow suit. The end result of these actions is there will no longer be a way to purchase poultry through the mail because no airlines will carry your order. Unless this can be resolved a number mail order hatcheries will more than likely go out of business.
We are begging for your support and help on this issue. Write your congressional representatives we MUST make them aware of this very crucial problem. We are very worried that mail order poultry and other birds, like so many other great things of our rich heritage, may become a thing of the past. This issue does not only affect hatcheries. Every feed store, 4-H Club, poultry equipment manufacturer, pharmaceutical company, school science project, and any other individual or company which has a finger in raising poultry and other birds on the small scale will be hurt.
Please lend us your assistance on this issue. Click on Take Action Now in the left nav-bar to print out a sample letter for your congressional representatives.
Thank you.