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.

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