New Standards for Mailing Adult Fowl

The following notice was in the April 12, 2007 DMM Advisory email.
DMM Advisory
New Standards for Mailing Adult Fowl
We published a notice in today’s Federal Register requiring mailers to package adult chickens in USPS-approved mailing containers. This change makes our packaging requirements consistent for all mailed fowl and promotes the safety of our employees, customers, and fowl.
Click here to read the complete change as published in the Federal Refister.

FEDERAL EXPRESS UPDATE

December 13, 2006
We received the following updates on Federal Express “Lives” service through the Post Office.
Because we have temperatures below 85 degrees now, the restrictions for the following areas have been lifted;
Birmingham AL (BHM) Zip Codes: 350-352, 354-359, 362
Jackson MS (JAN) Zip Codes: 369, 390-393, 396, 397
Nashville TN (BNA Zip Codes: 370-372, 384, 385
Federal Express will be shut down and will not accept “Lives” on the following holidays;
Christmas: December 24, 2006 through December 26, 2006
FedEx will have their last sort on 12/24 prior and will not be back up and running until the evening of 12/26. First Priority mail sort will be 12/27. To make sure all animals are delivered in a timely manner, they should ship by 12/20.
New Years: December 31, 2006 through January 2, 2007
FedEx will have their last sort on 12/31 prior and will not be back up and running until the evening of 1/2. First Priority mail sort will be on 1/3. To make sure all animals are delivered in a timely manner, they should ship by 12/27
The Oakland, CA hub is now setup to receive and sort “Lives”.
Bud Wood, Chair

Bonafilia Resigns From Post Office

I received the following email from John Bonafilia, Manager, Commercial Air Operations, U.S. Post Office.
On Monday, November 6th, I announced my intention to resign from the Postal Service after 31 years. My resignation is effective November 25th. Greg Garcia will assume the duties of Manager, Commercial Air Operations (Acting). Joel Rosen will continue to be your point of contact for all lives issues.
I believe I’m leaving the lives environment in better shape than when I assumed this position 4 years ago. I hope you all agree. It was frustrating, and at times discouraging trying to put together a network that would support you and your customers needs. With the addition of FedEx & UPS, the commercial carriers, as well as Northwest Airlines, I believe we have ample lift to ensure a successful mailing season next year. But as you are well aware, even with all this lift we may still have holes. Your constant communication proved invaluable – please continue to communicate with Joel as often as necessary.
Thanks again for the patience you displayed in the past.
John C. Bonafilia
Manager, Commercial Air Operations
Washington, DC 20260-7137

Mr. Bonafilia was of great service to our industry in the trying times of the last few years. He was instrumental in getting Northwest Airlines back on line, allowing chicken to “fly” again after 911, setting up Kittyhawk to cover gaps left by other airlines, and negotiating “lives” on Federal express, to name a few. On behalf of all of the Bird Shippers I would like to say thank-you to Mr. Bonafilia for all of his help.
Bud Wood, Chair

Fed Ex Notes

Fed Ex visited Metzer Farms in October and the following points were made:
Things have gone smoothly for FedEx the first four weeks of shipping. All transfers are being made in Memphis. If demand requires it, transfers may also be made in Indianapolis and Oakland when shipping of lives picks up in the spring.
At this point they are getting more Express mail than expected. They are hoping that most of the shipments will be priority which will be transferred in Memphis during the slower part of the day.
The only locations where there will be temperature restrictions are shipments to and from Birmingham, AL or Jackson, MS or Nashville, TN. As these routes are trucked from the sorting facility in Memphis, they cannot accept birds for shipment to or from these locations if temperatures are expected to be over 85 degrees.
FedEx will only accept birds from the USPS on Monday through Friday evenings. So you cannot expect FedEx to carry your shipments if you mail on Saturday or Sunday.
You will need to check the FedEx 2007 holiday schedule when it is announced. July 4, for example, is a Wednesday in 2007. They will not be working that day so if you mail on Tuesday, delivery will be delayed.

Clairification of FedEx Shipments by Mail

We recieved the following clairification to yesterdays anouncement.
Effective with mail acceptance on Monday, October 23, FedEx will begin transporting lives as Priority or Express Mail on the entire day and night network, with exceptions listed below.

Airport           | Express to | Express from | Priority to | Priority from |
St. Louis, MO     |     x      |      x       |      x      |      x        |
Springfield, MO   |            |              |      x      |      x        |
Charleston, WV    |            |              |      x      |               |
Bango, ME         |     x      |      x       |             |               |
Presque Isle, ME  |     x      |      x       |             |               |
Elmirea, NY       |     x      |      x       |             |               |
Chattanooga, TN   |     x      |      x       |             |               |
Traverse City, MI |     x      |      x       |             |               |
Huntsville, AL    |     x      |              |             |               |
Bismarck, ND      |            |      x       |             |               |
Bozeman, MT       |            |      x       |             |               |
Cumberland, MD    |            |      x       |             |               |
Durango, CO       |            |      x       |             |               |
Eugene, OR        |            |      x       |             |               |
Fairbanks, AK     |            |      x       |             |               |
Kalispell, MT     |            |      x       |             |               |
Medford, OR       |            |      x       |             |               |
Minot, ND         |            |      x       |             |               |
Missoula, MT      |            |      x       |             |               |
Pasco, WA         |            |      x       |             |               |
Pocatello, ID     |            |      x       |             |               |
Rapid City, SD    |            |      x       |             |               |
Redmond, OR       |            |      x       |             |               |
Rock Springs, WY  |            |      x       |             |               |
Salisbury, MD     |            |      x       |             |               |
Twin Falls, ID    |            |      x       |             |               |
Wenatchee, WA     |            |      x       |             |               |
Yakima, WA        |            |      x       |             |               |

USPS begin transporting lives on the entire day FedEx network

We have just recieved the following notification from USPS.
Effective with mail acceptance on Monday, October 23, FedEx will begin transporting lives on the entire day network, (in addition to the night network) with exceptions listed below.
Priority Originating and Destinating Exceptions
St. Louis MO (STL Zip Codes: 620, 622-631, 633-639
Springfield MO (SGF) Zip Codes: 648, 654-658
Destinations for which there is NO Friday Priority Retail acceptance
Shreveport LA (SHV) Zip Codes: 710-714
Oklahoma City OK (OKC) Zip Codes: 730, 731, 734-738, 748
Tulsa OK (TUL) Zip Codes: 740, 741, 743-747, 749
Houston TX (IAH) Zip Codes: 773-778
No Priority lives on FedEx to and from these locations if the forecast daytime temperature
for the route between those cities and Memphis TN (MEM) is 85 degrees F or higher.
Birmingham AL (BHM) Zip Codes: 350-352, 354-359, 362
Jackson MS (JAN) Zip Codes: 369, 390-393, 396, 397
Nashville TN (BNA Zip Codes: 370-372, 384, 385
Lives may not be transported on FedEx as Priority mail to (destinating in)
delivery locations served by the following airports.
Charleston WV (CRW) Zip Codes: 246-253, 258, 259, 261, 266
Lives may not be transported on FedEx as Express mail to (destinating in)
or from (originating in) locations served by the following airports.
Bangor ME (BGR) Zip Codes: 044, 046
Presque Isle ME (PQI) Zip Codes: 047
Elmira NY (ELM) Zip Codes: 148-149
Chattanooga TN (CHA) Zip Codes: 373-374
Traverse City MI (TVC) Zip Codes: 496
Fedex will not accept Express Lives going to:
Huntsville AL (HSV) Zip Codes: 356-358
St. Louis MO (STL) Zip Codes: 620, 622-624, 628-631, 633,
634, 636-639, 650-653
Lives may not be transported on FedEx as Express mail from (orig\inating in)
locations served by the following airports.
Bismarck ND (BIS)
Bozeman MT (BZN)
Cumberland MD (CBE)
Durango CO (DRO)
Eugene OR (EUG)
Fairbanks AK (FAI)
Kalispell MT (FCA)
Medford OR (MFR)
Minot ND (MOT)
Missoula MT (MSO)
Pasco WA (PSC)
Pocatello ID (PIH)
Rapid City SD (RAP)
Redmond OR (RDM)
Rock Springs WY (RKS)
Salisbury MD (SBY)
St. Louis MO (STL)
Twin Falls ID (TWF)
Wenatchee WA (EAT)
Yakima WA (YKM)

FEDERAL EXPRESS AND POST OFFICE CONTRACTUAL AGREE ON CARRING LIVES

Federal Express and the US post office have reached a contractual agreement on carrying “LIVES”. Starting on September 25, Federal Express has taken over the routs previously served by Kitty Hawk (see below for a listing). This is a contractual arrangement through the post office only as Federal Express will not take “LIVE” shipments directly. You will need to deliver your birds to a post office – not a Federal Express Office. If you experience any problems with this new service, please contact your postal official, not Federal Express.
At the present time the Post Office will only have Federal Express transport “LIVES” to and from the USPS AMFs listed below. As Federal Express gains more experience, other AMFs will be added to the routs. The full Priority Mail Network effective date has yet to be determined. Commercial airlines are still carrying lives.
BSA is still working to put the temperature guidelines in place by regulation or legislation. BSA is also investigating the problems that shippers have experienced with insurance. We will keep you posted on our progress.
USPS AMF ACCEPTING “LIVES” FOR TRANSPORTATION BY FEDERAL EXPRESS
Atlanta GA (ATL)
Austin TX (AUS)
Baltimore MD (BWI)
Boston MA (BOS)
Buffalo NY (BUF)
Charlotte NC (CLT)
Cincinnati OH (CVG)
Cleveland OH (CLE)
Columbus OH (CMH)
Denver CO (DEN)
El Paso TX (ELP)
Hartford CT (BDL)
Jacksonville FL (JAX)
Kansas City MO (MCI)
Los Angeles CA (LAX) (To include Express Lives from Burbank CA (BUR))
Louisville KY (SDF)
Memphis TN (MEM)
Milwaukee WI (MKE) (To include Express Lives from Madison WI (MSN))
Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) (To include Express Lives from Rochester MN (RST))
Nashville TN (BNA)
Norfolk VA (ORF)
Oakland CA (OAK)
Omaha NE (OMA)
Ontario CA (ONT)
Orlando FL (MCO)
Philadelphia PA (PHL)
Phoenix AZ (PHX)
Pittsburgh PA (PIT)
Portland OR (PDX)
Richmond VA (RIC)
Salt Lake City (SLC)
San Diego CA (SAN)
San Francisco CA (SFO)
Seattle WA (SEA)
Sioux Falls SD (FSD)
Tulsa OK (TUL)
PRIORITY ORIGINATING AND DESTINATING EXCEPTIONS
St. Louis MO (STL) Zip Codes (620, 622-631, 633-639)
Springfield MO (SGF) Zip Codes (648, 654-658)
DESTINATIONS FOR WHICH THERE IS NO FRIDAY PRIORITY RETAIL ACCEPTANCE
Shreveport LA (SHV) Zip Codes (710-714)
Oklahoma City OK (OKC) Zip Codes (730, 731, 734-738, 748)
Tulsa OK (TUL) Zip Codes (740, 741, 743-747, 749)
Houston TX (IAH) Zip Codes (773-778)
AREA WHERE NO PRIORITY LIVES WHEN TEMPERATURE IS ABOVE 85 DEGREES F.
No Priority lives on FedEx to and from these locations if the forecast daytime temperature for the route between those cities and Memphis TN (MEM) is 85 degrees F or higher. These are truck routs over four hours in duration.
Birmingham AL (BHM) Zip Codes (350-352, 354-359, 362)
Jackson MS (JAN) Zip Codes (369, 390-393, 396, 397)
Nashville TN (BNA) Zip Codes (370-372, 384, 385)
LIVES EXCEPTION LIST
Lives may not be transported on FedEx as Priority mail to (destinating in) delivery locations served by the following airports.
Charleston WV (CRW) Zip Codes (246-253, 258, 259, 261, 266)
Lives may not be transported on FedEx as Express mail to (destinating in)
or from (originating in) locations served by the following airports.
Bangor ME (BGR) Zip Codes (044, 046)
Presque Isle ME (PQI) Zip Codes (047)
Elmira NY (ELM) Zip Codes (148-149)
Chattanooga TN (CHA) Zip Codes (373-374)
Traverse City MI (TVC) Zip Codes (496)
Fedex will not accept Express Lives going to these destination.
Huntsville AL (HSV) Zip Codes (356-358)
St. Louis MO (STL) Zip Codes (620, 622-624, 628-631, 633, 634, 636-639, 650-653
EXPRESS ORIGINATING AND DESTINATING EXCEPTIONS
Lives may not be transported on FedEx as Express mail from (orig\inating in) locations served by the following airports.
Bismarck ND (BIS)
Bozeman MT (BZN)
Cumberland MD (CBE)
Durango CO (DRO)
Eugene OR (EUG)
Fairbanks AK (FAI)
Kalispell MT (FCA)
Medford OR (MFR)
Minot ND (MOT)
Missoula MT (MSO)
Pasco WA (PSC)
Pocatello ID (PIH)
Rapid City SD (RAP)
Redmond OR (RDM)
Rock Springs WY (RKS)
Salisbury MD (SBY)
St. Louis MO (STL)
Twin Falls ID (TWF)
Wenatchee WA (EAT)
Yakima WA (YKM)

Acceptance of Live Shipments by USPS

To follow is a letter from Paul Vogel, Network Operations Manager for USPS, concerning acceptance of live shipments. Below his letter is the response from Bird Shippers of America to the issues raised in Mr. Vogel’s letter.



BIRD SHIPPERS OF AMERICA
PO BOX 458
WEBSTER CITY, IA 50595
March 20, 2006
Paul E. Vogel, Vice President
Network Operations Management
United States Postal Service
476 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Room 7011
Washington, DC 20260-6251
Dear Paul:
The Bird Shippers of America appreciate the efforts the USPS in addressing the problems bird shippers have been experiencing in the recent past. Therefore, we appreciated receiving a copy of the March 6, 2006 communication to Vice Presidents, Area Operations Manager, and Capital Metro Operations of the United States Postal Service (USPS) on the Acceptance of Lives.
Unfortunately, we have some major concerns with the substance of the letter in three areas.
Firstly, the suggested procedure permitting the District Managers to establish local procedures and acceptance-point guidelines to be followed by the District Expedited Services Office (ESO) within each District will, we believe, unavoidably create a variety of different policies and procedures which cannot help but result in inconsistency and, therefore, uncertainty for the shippers and customers. We believe a uniform policy for the entire country is warranted and would result in a far more efficient system.
Secondly, as far as contacting the ESO when there is to be a mailing, many times the ordering process does not permit timely notice. For example, one of our members recently had 800 orders in one week 300 of which were booked between Monday and Wednesday. Timely notification cannot always be done.
The third area of concern is the four (4) hour limitation on surface transportation. We have shippers in southern California who will not be able to ship to northern California, Washington or Oregon. One shipper in the southwest cannot even reach postal distribution centers in Albuquerque or Dallas in four (4) hours. Another shipper in Texas cannot reach customers in Oklahoma, Louisiana, south and north Texas, Tennessee, lower Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and the panhandle of Florida by air and has to rely on surface transportation that results in trips that are longer that a four (4) hours.
Immediately after the 9/11tragedy, bird shippers had to use all surface transportation for deliveries throughout the country in trips exceeding four (4) ours and had no problems. In sum, if this limitation is imposed, it will be economically devastating to many, many bird shippers throughout the country. We feel that the limitation is unrealistic and arbitrary; especially when a policy of no time limitation has been successful for many years.
It is interesting that one of the USPS Area Managers encouraged one of the bird shippers to take more bird shipments by surface transportation resulting in trips that were far longer than four (4) hours. The suggestion was followed with no resulting problems
We sincerely hope you will consider our concerns and would be most willing to discuss these matters with you or your staff. If we can answer any questions regarding the above comments, we trust you will contact us. Again, the industry appreciates your efforts on our behalf.
Sincerely,
Murray McMurray
Chairman

WE NEED YOUR HELP WITH PENDING LEGISLATION

The ability to ship poultry to you is being threatened by unwarranted accusations from animal rights groups AND the inability of the Post Office and their air carriers to deliver our products in a timely and efficient manner.
The following is a summary of the legislation Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced in the U.S. Senate on Friday, March 10th. The three points Senator Grassley makes, as well as information regarding avian influenza (Bird Flu), are extremely important to the continued success of shipping live poultry through the U.S. Postal System.
We need your help, and the help of your friends, to make this proposal – law. For your convenience we have set up a webpage We need your help. Write your Senator today. where you can print a custom letter to be Mailed or Faxed to each of your Senators. If you feel strongly about your right to receive birds through the mail, or your business or hobby would endure severe hardships if you could not receive birds, please take the time to submit your letter. All of us in the bird shipping business greatly appreciate your help in this most important issue.
Thank you.
Murray McMurray, Chairman
Bird Shippers of America
LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN THE U.S. CONGRESS TO ADDRESS PROBLEMS IN SHIPPING BIRDS BY AIR MAIL – YOUR HELP IS NEEDED
On March 9, 2006, Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced S. 2395 that specifically addresses three major problems that face bird shippers that transport birds by mail:
1. Mandating that any air carrier that has a contract to ship mail must carry poultry as mail unless it commonly and regularly refuses to carry any animals as cargo.
This provision specifically refers to Federal Express (FedEx) that took over the Eagle Service previously run by the United States Postal Service (USPS). In a response to a letter from the USPS that FedEx must take birds as mail, FedEx took the legal position that it was not covered by the previous passed statute mandating the carrying of birds by mail because the statute states, inter alia, that “the Postal Service may require any air carrier to accept as mail shipments of day-old poultry and such other live animals as postal regulations allow to be transmitted as mail matter. The authority of the Postal Service under this subparagraph shall not apply in the case of any air carrier who commonly and regularly refuses to accept any live animals as cargo. [Emphasis added]. 39 USC § 5402(d)(2)(A). FedEx maintains that it “commonly and regularly” refuses “accept any live animals as cargo.” Id. Factually, this is not true as FedEx does carry all types of animals except dogs, cats and bees. Consequently, the provisions states that if the air carrier transport any animals by cargo, it must take birds by air mail.
2. Mandating that air carries will guarantee delivery of mail form point of origin to final destination.
This provision addresses the problem where Delta Airlines unilaterally announced to the USPS that it would not longer take transfers of lives. You could ship from A to B but not from A to B to C. It has been reported that some other air carriers have taken a similar position on certain routes. If the air carrier has a mail contract, this provision guarantees delivery.
3. Mandating that air carriers shall accept and carry birds as air mail when the outside temperature is between 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.77 degrees Celsius) and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.77 degrees Celsius) from point of origin through the point of destination.
In the past, airlines have notified the USPS that they will not carry lives when the temperature reaches 85 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Although the industry and the Department of Agriculture have informed the airlines and the USPS that that standard should not apply to day old chicks, USPS and the airlines ignore the science based conclusions and continue to rely on guidelines set under the Animal Welfare Act for dogs and cats: “The ambient temperature…must not rise above 85 deg. F. (29.5 deg. C) for more than 4 consecutive hours when dogs and cats are present.” [Emphasis added]. 9 CFR § 3.2 (a). This standard is inappropriate for several legal, scientific and practical reasons.
Firstly, “poultry” is exempt for the Animal Welfare Act and the regulations there under. 7 USC § 2132(g); 9 CFR § 1.1.
Secondly, the regulation has time restrictions that, in practice, would not apply to the shipment of day-old chicks in that shippers deliver the shipments in a manner for timely air transport so there will not be extended delay before scheduled airplane departures and arrangements are made for immediate pick-up at the delivery point.
Thirdly, is the scientific consideration that the 85 degree F is an inappropriate temperature level to deny shipment of day-old chicks in that the chicks are hatched in 95 to 100 degrees F and should be kept at 95-100 degree F for up to one week of age, gradually reducing it each week. Consequently, 85 degrees F and above is not harmful to the health and safety of day day-old chicks in air transit. At the lower end of the temperature, experience in the industry indicates that shipments of day-old chicks does not result in mortality if timely delivered.
One other issue has been raised regarding shipments of poultry – the H5N1 strain of avian influenza. In a letter dated November 21, 2005, Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), wrote Postmaster General John E. Potter citing “long-standing concerns” of the practice of the air mail of birds because of the “sever humane implications for millions of birds mailed across the county every year.” Pacelle also stated that the shipping of day-old chicks currently “warranted attention on the possibility of a worldwide pandemic related to avian influenza.”
Citing the discretionary aspect of legislation previously passed by the Congress that mandates air carriers to accept live animals as mail if the carrier, Pacelle urged the USPS to immediately rescind its current policy of requiring airlines to accept live day-old chicks for shipment. 39 USC § 5402(e)(2)(A). BSA under took research on the matter and obtained opinions from various avian health pathologists and veterinarians that, to date, there is not sufficient data to cause any drastic action resulting in a ban of interstate commerce in shipping day-old birds. More significantly, however, there is no scientific evidence any where in the world to indicate that day-old birds have been a carrier of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza. Senator Grassley addressed that issue, as well as the other points discussed above, in his statement on the Floor of the Senate when he introduced S. 2395:
Mr. President I rise to introduce legislation that would address the concerns related to the shipping of live birds through the United States Postal Service. I introduced a similar bill during the 107th Congress with bi-partisan support. It was included in Public Law 107-67. This bill should close some loopholes that some of the airlines are using to avoid the timely shipping of day-old baby chicks.
Some members of the airline industry stated that they commonly and regularly refuse to transport shipments of some species of live animals for its regularly scheduled cargo service and, therefore, can refuse to carry any live animals by mail under existing law. My bill will make the law apply to “any air carrier that commonly and regularly carries any live animals as cargo,” thus making sure that if the air carrier does ship any live animals as cargo, it will be required to ship animals as mail.
There have been accusations that the shipping of day-old poultry could spread avian influenza. I have received information from Avian Health Veterinarians and they have informed me that avian influenza is not an egg transmitted disease. There are no reports of day-old poultry from infected breeders being infected with avian influenza when they hatch.
Poultry health specialists have been examining the vertical transmission, or parents-to-chicks via the egg of avian influenza, for more than 30 years. Studies looking at the avian influenza have consistently failed to reveal evidence of avian influenza virus infections in newly hatched chicks from infected parent flocks.
This clearly shows that day-old poultry are not likely to be naturally infected. So the risk of transmitting avian influenza through shipment of day-old poultry is not an issue.
This bill would also address two other problems that have caused an adverse economic impact to bird shippers. First, the bill requires air carriers
that take poultry as mail, to transfer such shipments so that the shipper is guaranteed that the shipment will reach its ultimate destination.
Second, it requires an air carrier to take shipments of poultry as air mail when the outside temperature is between 0 degrees Fahrenheit -17 degrees Celsius and 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.77 degrees Celsius from point of origin of the shipment through the point of destination. These temperature parameters are accepted by avian veterinarians as safe and humane.
************************
Although the U. S. Constitution and federal statutes enacted by the Congress mandate and guarantee that postal patrons receive “prompt, reliable and efficient” postal service “to all communities,” this is certainly not been the recent experience of the postal patrons within the poultry and game bird industry. S. 2395 can correct that situation. However, there is no doubt that this legislation will be vigorously opposed by the air carriers as well as the animal rights organizations. Therefore, it is imperative that members of the bird shipping industry – producers and customers – write their respective Senators urging, not only their support of S. 2395, but request them to co-sponsor the bill. Only through a vigorous grass-roots effort can we be successful.
Following is a suggested letter, however, use your own words and give examples of the problems your particular business has encountered as a result of postal and airline policies. Feel free to use any of the above information in your correspondence. If you can visit the Senator’s District office in your state and speak to a member of the Senator’s staff, so much the better.
Your contact is important and, since you are a constituent of your Senator, your opinion will be considered.

BIRD SHIPPERS OF AMERICA ANSWERS HSUS CHARGES

BIRD SHIPPERS OF AMERICA ANSWERS HSUS
In a letter dated November 21, 2005, Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), wrote Postmaster General John E. Potter citing “long-standing concerns” of the practice of the air mail of birds because of the “sever humane implications for millions of birds mailed across the county every year.” Pacelle indicated shipping of day-old chicks currently “warranted attention on the possibility of a worldwide pandemic related to avian influenza” caused HSUS to bring the issue to the attention of the Untied States Postal Service (USPS).
Citing the discretionary aspect of legislation authored by Senator Charles Grassley R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and passed by the Congress that mandates air carriers to accept live animals as mail if the carrier “commonly and regularly” carry animals as cargo, Pacelle urged the USPS to immediately rescind its current policy of requiring airlines to accept live day-old chicks for shipment. 39 USC S5402(e)(2)(A).
At the urging of Senator Grassley, on August 26, 2005, Paul Vogel, Vice President for Network Operations Management of the USPS wrote Federal Express demanding it carry birds under its mail contract since FedEx does, in fact, carry animals as cargo and is, therefore, covered by the statute. FedEx replied on September 30, 2005 that since it “commonly and regularly” refused to carry certain animals, it is exempt from coverage by the statute. This issue has yet to be resolved but in the HSUS letter, Pacelle also urged the USPS to continue to permit FedEx not to carry birds under its mail contract.
Pacelle stated that bird breeder companies are catering to “backyard poultry” customers that has resulted in “HSUS and other animal protection organizations regularly [receiving] complaints about birds dying after they were sent by U.S. Mail.”
Pacelle further claims that an official of the USPS was told by the Bird Shippers of America (BSA) that “last year more birds arrived at their final destination (sic) dead than alive.”
Firstly, no one representing BSA ever said that statement as it is not a fact. Secondly, the official at the USPS denies he ever made that statement to HSUS or anyone else.
In another factual misrepresentation, Pacelle claimed the Northwest Airlines (NW) “decided to no longer accept baby birds on commercial flights after 300 chicks died from exposure to rain on a routine lay-over.” However, NW has told the BSA that the reason it declined to carry ANY air mail on domestic flights is that its share of the total air mail market went from 12% to 2% after the USPS went from negotiated contracts to bid contracts. More significantly, however, NW does, in fact, carry day-old chicks by airmail out of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Detroit and continues to carry poultry as cargo. And finally, the USPS and NW have been in discussions relative to NW again carrying lives by mail throughout its system.
In another inaccuracy that HSUS used in opposing the successful effort to obtain the legislation mandating air lines to carry lives as mail, it Firstly, HSUS ignores the science acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other veterinarians that since chicks are hatched in 99F and brooded in 95F. Consequently, shipping them a day after birth in 95F is not inhumane. Secondly, day-old chicks feed on the unabsorbed yolk for at least 72 hours after being hatched. Thus, the food and water issue is not an issue for day-old chicks.
The thrust of the letter is clearly to raise the issue of a H5N1 strain of avian influenza outbreak. To date, there is not sufficient data to cause any drastic action resulting in a ban of interstate commerce in shipping day-old birds. More significantly, however, there is no scientific evidence any where in the world to indicate that day-old birds have been a carrier of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza.
BSA will be contacting officials of the USPS and Members of the Congress regarding the misinformation and statement raised in the HSUS letter. Further, the members of BSA pledge to work with federal and state health officials to insure that only disease free poultry will be shipped in interstate commerce whether by surface of air transport.