Senator Grassley Press Release

Tuesday, April 5, 2005
Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, held a press conference this morning acknowledging his concern that the USPS is not enforcing the law which he introduced in 2002. As he stated, “This law does not allow air carriers to discriminate against live chicks. If the carrier provides shipment for any live animals, it must provide the service for day-old chicks”.
A formal letter was sent by the Senator to Mr. Paul Vogel, Vice President Network Operations of the USPS discussing this and other similar matters. An update will be presented here as soon as more details are known.

March 15, 2005 Update

Dear BSA Member:
As of yesterday, the following is the situation on air mail of lives:


Delta Airlines: As earlier reported, Delta unilaterally decided (for economic considerations), that it would no longer take “live” air mail shipments of if such shipment would mean a transfer in the shipment. In other words, you could ship from A to B but not to C if the shipment required a transfer from B.
American Airlines and U.S. Air: Due to sub-performance in their contracts with the USPS, the USPS temporarily suspended the contracts with American and U.S. Air.
United Airlines: It has been learned that United will not take “lives” from Dallas to Denver.
II. THE “Solutions”
In order to “take up the slack” from the above situation, USPS has contracted with Air Tran and Airbourne. Airbourne, in turn, has contracted with Northwest Airlines to carry “lives.”
Northwest currently takes “lives” under a direct contract with USPS from Detroit (DTW) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and, by April 18th, Northwest will be taking “lives” from all it other hubs: Memphis (MEM), Los Angeles (LAX), and New York (JFK). A surcharge will be imposed of $.20 per pound from all hubs except Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul where it will continue the current surcharge rates. Northwest is to submit its routing to the USPS by the end of the week.
It turns out that Air Tran does not (will not?) take “lives.” John Bonafilia informs me that Air Tran admits it “misled” the USPS on this issue.
The USPS was unaware of the United refusal to take “lives” from Dallas to Denver but will investigate.
American will be back to carry air mail starting next week for a four (4) week test. Initially, the USPS would not allow them to take “lives” during a test period. I (respectfully) requested that it reconsider this decision due to the critical economic impact the absence of air mail service has had on the industry. The USPS changed its position and American will be required to take “lives” during this test period.
U.S. Air is now “not ready” for the test period but will be by April 2nd.
The unilateral decision by Delta not to take transfers is clearly in conflict with the statute we successfully obtained. This was pointed out to the USPS that responded with the statement that their attorneys were “looking into it.” As a practical matter, Delta started to dismantle its transfer facilities beginning in March. It has to be concluded it did so with either the tacit approval of the USPS or the perceived or certain knowledge that the USPS would do nothing about it. I fear the same may be true of the United situation.
Of course, there is still the FedEx issue that it was covered by the statute but, even so, the USPS contractually allowed it not to carry “lives.’
I met with the staff of Senator Charles Grassley yesterday.
Firstly, apparently, the Senator’s office had out considerable pressure on Northwest to do what it has done by some “trade off” on other agriculture issues.
Secondly, it is agreed that the problems (with the exception of sub-performance by American and U.S. Air) are clearly systemic from USPS’s failure to enforce the provisions of the statute. (i.e., FedEx, Delta and United).
Thirdly, in view of these conclusions, I was requested to draft a letter for Senator Grass signature to the USPS (Vogel) indicating his displeasure with the current state of affairs that are mainly the fault of the USPS in its failure to enforce it authority under the statute (or, in turn, using its discretion to not enforce it per FedEx).
Fourthly, after a letter of explanation from the USPS that will undoubtedly be unacceptable the USPS will be “invited ” to come to the Senator’s office for a “chat.” At that time, the FedEx issue will “be on the table” and if the USPS will not remove the clause from the FedEx contract and require FedEx to carry “lives,” it will be informed that legislation will introduce to insure that it be done.
[FedEx had expressed the notion that if it were required to carry “lives” as air mail, it would not carry any air mail. Initially, the Senator Grassley’s office was concerned with that threat viz-a-viz the carrying of medical products. This was of specific concern to the Senator as he is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee that has jurisdiction over Medicare. The Senator now believes that the threat was, and is, a bluff so he does not have any hesitation in going forward].
Fifthly, in view of the surcharge issue, the Senator’s office will look into some form of establishing parity in the market place for those shippers that have to pay the surcharge. The initial thought was to craft some form of a tax credit scheme. This will be pursued.
I really believe that the USPS is attempting to be responsive to the current problems. Having acknowledged that notion, most, if not all, the problems have, in point of historical fact, been caused by the USPS:
1. by eliminating the USPS owned and operated Eagle Service and replacing it with contract service that will not carry “lives” in the face of the statute and facts that required an air carrier to do so;
2. by compounding the this failure by specifically contracting with the carrier that it does not have to do so;
3. by having bid contracts for the carrying of air mail rather than negotiated contract; and
4. by “permitting” Delta and United to unilaterally decide to alter its policy on how it will carry air mail.
From the very beginning of the problems, it was clear that the USPS believes it is held hostage by the air carriers and has consistently deferred to them. The air carriers have, in turn, evidenced to the industry that they “are in control.” The air lines and the USPS (let alone the animal rights crowd) never thought the statute would pass the Congress. Although the passage of the statute (temporarily) “made believers” of the USPS and the air line industry, it is clear that it is time to legislatively make it abundantly clear to the USPS and the air lines that the air mail service the industry is entitled to under the Constitution and statutory law shall be available. Fortunately, we have an “800 pound Congressional gorilla” to help in obtaining this objective.
Murray McMurray

February 16, 2005 Update

Dear BSA Member:
As many of you may, or may not, know, this past week has presented more potential problems for those of us shipping poultry across the country.
Delta Airlines has made the decision to take no “Transfer” mail. Transfer mail consists of mail which Delta would carry from point A to point B and then have to transfer to point C. It is our understanding that they still will carry mail from point A to B (there was no transfer involved).
US Air and American had their postal contracts terminated by the USPS because their service was unacceptable. Both airlines want to continue to have contracts and the USPS is in negotiation with them at this time.
Our lobbyist has indicated to us he should be able to give us an update at the end of this week and we will pass it on at that time. This is very crucial time in our industry. If you have not paid your membership fees yet please consider doing so.
Murray McMurray

Exotic Newcastle Disease Update

All species of birds are at risk
of getting this disease

What is Newcastle Disease?

Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) is
a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting
all species of birds, both domestic and wild.
END is one of the most infectious diseases of
poultry in the world. It is probably the most
serious disease of chickens throughout the world.
In susceptible chickens, death rates may exceed

What causes Newcastle Disease?

Newcastle Disease is caused by a Paramyxovirus.
It is very resistant and survives a pH of 2 to
12, heating to 130° F (56° C) for 3 hours,
and can survive freezing indefinitely. Extended
drying and ultraviolet light will kill the virus.
END virus can survive for several weeks in the
warmth and humid environment of a poultry production
unit on feathers, in manure, and other materials.

What are the signs and symptoms
of Newcastle Disease?

END affects the respiratory, nervous
and digestive systems. The incubation period ranges
from 2 to 15 days. Affected birds may exhibit
the following signs:

  • Respiratory: sneezing, gasping for air,
    nasal discharge, coughing;
  • Digestive: greenish, watery diarrhea;
  • Nervous: depression, muscular tremors,
    drooping wings, twisting of head and neck,
    circling, complete paralysis;
  • Partial to complete drop in egg production;
  • Production of thin shelled eggs;
  • Swelling of the tissues around the eyes
    and in the neck;
  • Sudden death;
  • Increased death loss in flock.

How does Exotic Newcastle Disease
spread from farm-to-farm, bird-to-bird?

Healthy birds are infected when there
is direct contact with infected bodily discharges
of infected birds such as droppings and secretions
from the nose, mouth, and eyes. Close confinement
causes a rapid spread of disease among birds.
All bodily discharges contain high concentration
of END virus. Therefore, the virus-bearing material
can be picked up on insects, rodents, containers,
shoes and clothing and carried from a sick flock
to a healthy flock. Any person on the infected
farm can spread END virus including manure haulers,
rendering truck drivers, vaccination and debeaking
crews, egg service people, load-out crews, chick
and poultry delivery personnel, and poultry farm
owners, employees, and visitors.

Are pet birds at risk of END?

Smuggling pet birds, especially Amazon
parrots pose a great risk of introducing END.
Amazon parrots that are carriers of END but do
not show symptoms are capable of shedding END
virus for more than 400 days. All species of birds
are capable of becoming infected and transmitting
this disease.

Are humans at risk of getting END?

END does not pose a threat to humans.
Eggs and inspected slaughter poultry are safe
for food. Conjunctivitis has occurred in diagnosticians
and pathologists after examining infected birds.

Are waterfowl and migratory birds
at risk of spreading Newcastle disease?

Yes, cormorants and pelicans were
identified with Newcastle disease in 1992 in Minnesota,
South Dakota, Michigan and Canada. One South Dakota
poultry site and two North Dakota poultry sites
were affected. This episode of Newcastle Disease
was not the same strain of END that occurred in
California in 1998 and now in 2003, or that occurred
in Mexico in 2000.

What can poultry producers do to
lessen the risk of introducing this disease to
their birds?

1. Permit only essential workers and
vehicles on premises. Ensure no shipping articles,
equipment, or personnel have contact with quarantined
2. Provide clean clothing and disinfection facilities
for employees.
3. Clean and disinfect vehicles (including tires
and undercarriages) entering and leaving the premises.
4. Avoid visiting other poultry operations.
5. Maintain an “all-in and all-out”
philosophy of flock management with a single age

  • Control the movement of all poultry products
    from farm to farm.
  • Do not “skim” mature birds
    from a flock for sale to a live-poultry
  • Clean and disinfect poultry houses between
    each lot of birds.

6. Do not keep pet birds on the farm.
Do not hire employees who own pet birds.
7. Exclude vaccination crews, catching crews,
and other service personnel who may have been
in contact with a poultry operation within 24
8. Protect flocks from wild birds that may try
to nest in poultry houses or feed with domesticated
9. Control movement associated with the disposal
and handling of bird carcasses, litter, and manure.
10. Immediately report any suspicious illness
or death loss to the state veterinarian.
11. Take diseased birds to a diagnostic laboratory
for examination as directed by the state veterinarian.
12. Consider END surveillance as part of on-going
disease surveillance activities.

What can pet birds and backyard
poultry enthusiasts do to prevent and control

1. Follow state law, obtain a health
certificate on birds directly imported from other
2. Require certification from suppliers that birds
are legally imported or are of US stock and healthy
prior to shipment, and will be transported in
new or thoroughly disinfected containers.
3. Maintain records and shipment of flocks.
4. Isolate all newly purchased birds for at least
30 days. Restrict movement of personnel between
new and old birds.
5. Practice Biosecurity.
6. Report unusual illness or death to the state

Are your exotic pet birds legally

END is a threat to the caged-bird
industry and poultry hobbyists. Birds illegally
smuggled into the US are not quarantined and tested
on entry. Anyone who is offering to sell young
parrots should be suspected of smuggling or purchasing
smuggled birds. Amazon parrots can be carriers
of END and can shed the virus for more than 400

What is being done to prevent END
from being introduced into US birds?

USDA-APHIS requires that all imported
birds (poultry, pet birds, birds exhibited to
zoos, and ratites) be tested and quarantined for
disease before entering the country.

Why the excitement about Exotic
Newcastle Disease?

END is classified as a Foreign Animal
Disease when found in the US. A foreign animal
disease is defined as an important transmissible
livestock and poultry disease believed to be absent
from the US and its territories that has a potential
significant health or economic impact. Not only
is there the high death rates, severe illness,
and production losses; there is almost immediate
and severe loss of export markets.

What is the export value of poultry
products from the US?

Total US exports of poultry meat in
2001 were valued at $2.1 billion. US exports of
eggs were valued at $151 million in 2001.

Are ring neck pheasants susceptible
to END?

Yes, death losses may be quite significant,
and re-building the population may take many years.

For more information:

Visit the USDA website:


August 17, 2004 Shipping Update

As we know, bird shippers have been subject to an air carrier standard that birds will not be shipped if the temperature on the tarmac reaches 85 degrees F for four hours. As BSA has explained to airline personnel and officials of the United States Postal Service (USPS), such a standard was adopted under the Animal Welfare Act for the shipment of cats and dogs and should not apply day-old chicks. BSA has provided such opinions from a professor at the University of Georgia as well as the (then) Deputy Administrator of Veterinary Services of the Animal, Plant and Health Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, airline officials have not seen fit to acknowledge this fact in their shipping policies and the USPS has taken the legal position that it cannot (read: “will not”) require the air carriers to adopt a different policy.
In order to conclusively demonstrate that the standard is inappropriate to the shipment of day-old chicks, BSA commissioned a study on the subject. That study was undertaken by personnel at the Department of Biology at Austin College in Texas and the Cooperative Extension Service at the University of California-Davis. The study is now completed and will be published in a peer reviewed professional journal in the near future. The Executive Summary of the study states:
This study was undertaken to determine the survivability of recently hatched chicks while in transit considering the variances in temperature that may occur. Neonatal chicks were exposed for four hours to an outside temperature within an 18-100 degree F range to replicate such conditions. Only two chicks died during the study in one box at 18 degrees F and one at 27 degrees F. These deaths were attributed to suffocation by three-dimensional huddling behavior of the chicks. No additional mortality occurred in the days following any of the trials. By taking body temperatures, sound recordings to determine stress, and utilizing standard shipping boxes, it was concluded that domestic chicken chicks are able to survive shipping in temperatures from 18 degrees F to 100 degrees F.
[Emphasis added].
The study has been forwarded to the staffs of Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). Utilizing the study the following will be undertaken:
1. Radio Broadcast – Each week Senator Grassley does a radio broadcast that is carried on 22 radio stations in Iowa. This broadcast is always monitored by personnel at the Department of Agriculture. Part of the subject matter for a recent broadcast was on the airline temperature issue for chicks. The main thrust of the message is that the Senator has been disappointed that USDA and the USPS have not forced the airlines to accept the scientific facts regarding temperature parameters for the shipment of birds by imposing the restrictions of the Animal Welfare Act as it relates to dogs and cats. Therefore, he “intends” to remedy that situation.
2. Press Release – A press release was issued from the Senator’s office on the subject.
3. Letters –
A letter from the Senator Grassley (that may be co-signed by Senator Feingold) enclosing the BSA study will be written to Ron DeHaven, now Administrator of the Animal, Plant and Health Service (APHIS) of USDA requesting him to expand on his previous letter (when he was the Deputy Administrator of Veterinary Services of APHIS) on the temperature issue but specifically mentioning temperature as it relates to air shipment of chicks.
When the reply from Dr. DeHaven is received, it will be sent by the Senator(s) to Paul E. Vogel, Vice President, Network Operations Management, USPS, along with the BSA study requesting that the USPS require air carriers to acknowledge the temperature parameters for shipment of chicks in all future contacts between air carriers and the USPS.
4. Legislation –
If the USPS refuses to require such language in its contracts with airlines (that, based on previous experience, may be the case), legislation will be introduced to mandate such adherence.
As you recall, Federal Express has taken the position that it s exempted under the language of the legislation we obtained regarding the shipment of day-old chicks by air mail. The exception states any air carriers “who commonly and regularly refuses to accept live animals as cargo” are not covered. Federal Express does, in fact, carry live animals as cargo. By contact, however, the USPS allowed Federal Express not to carry live animals by mail utilizing the discretionary language of the statute that “the Postal service may require air carriers to accept day=old poultry …to be transmitted as mail matter.” [Emphasis added].
With Congressional assistance, this matter will continue to be pursued

April 21, 2004 Shipping Update

As has been reported, in mid-2003 Northwest Airlines (NW) decided not to contract with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to carry domestic air mail since its share of the air mail dropped from 12% of the market to 2% under a bid contract system. This absence of service would result in serious problems for bird shippers throughout the mid-west. Representatives of the Bird Shippers of America (BSA) conveyed their concern to officials at USPS, Northwest Airlines as well as Members of the Congress. As a consequence, the USPS entered into negotiations Northwest that resulted in a contract that Northwest would carry “lives” by air mail for a $1.00 per pound surcharge plus postage. This service would, however, only apply to an original point of origin at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
The service has been instituted and has been successful. However, it was clear that an additional “original point of origin” would be needed to accommodate the demand for such “live” shipment by air mail. To accommodate more mid-west shippers, Detroit, Michigan had been an airport suggested to be an additional point of origin. On April 19, 2004, the USPS has informed the Bird Shippers of America that it has obtained an agreement from Northwest that Detroit, Michigan will now be an original point of origin in addition to Minneapolis -St. Paul.
Two issues that the Bird Shippers of America are continuing to pursue with the USPS and the airline industry are the temperature question and the matter that Federal Express will not carrying day-old chicks as air mail. Federal Express has an air mail contract with the USPS but refuses to agree that it is covered by the statute mandating air carriers that carry air mail must carry day-old chicks and other animals that could be air mailed. The exception under the law is that an air carrier that “regularly and commonly” refuses to carry “any” animals as cargo, are exempt from coverage. We have informed the USPS that Federal Express does, in fact, carry animals as cargo for the pet industry, medical research, zoos and aquariums, and for the agro-business community and individuals.
As to the temperature issue, shippers of day-old poultry have continually experienced the problem that some air carriers refuse to take such shipments when the temperature reaches 85 degrees Fahrenheit (F) on the tarmac. That “benchmark” of that guideline is for the shipment of live animals under the Animal Welfare Act. However, “poultry” is exempt from the Animal Welfare Act and the regulations there under.
It has been pointed out to the USPS and the airline industry that as a practical matter, the time restrictions in the regulations of four hours at 85 degrees F, in practice, would not apply to the shipment of day-old chicks. Shippers deliver the shipments in a manner for timely air transport so there will not be extended delay before a scheduled shipment and arrangements are made for immediate pick-up at the delivery point.
It has been further explained that the more practical and scientific reason is that the 85 degree F is an inappropriate temperature level in that day-old 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.
Stephen S. Boynton

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Board of Directors and Members

Board of Directors

McMurray Hatchery, Inc

Murray McMurray, Chair
PO Box 458
Webster City, IA 50595-0458

Poultry Breeding Farms, Inc.

Janet F. Crouch
PO Box 591
Cameron, TX 76520

Pheasant Farms, Inc.

Bill MacFarlane
2821 South US Hwy 51
Janesville, WI 53546


Jimmy Privett
PO Box 176
Portales, NM 88130


John Metzer
26000 Old Stage Road
Gonzales, CA 93926

Oakwood Game Farm, Inc
Jim Myer
PO Box 274
Princeton, MN 55371


A&P Exotics
Am Livestock Breeds
Am Pheasant & Water
Acadiana Aviaries
American Dove Assoc.
American Livestock Breeders Conserv.
American Pheasant & Waterfowl
Am Racing Pigeon Union
A&P Exotics
Bear’s Birds & Hatchery
Phyllis Bender
Bill’s Quackery
Brower Mfg.
Brushcroft Poultry
Bullbeggar Creek Waterfowl
S.E. Wheeler
Cackle Hatchery
Cad-Re Feeds, Farm, Ranch Sply
Calico Woods Farm
Chenoa Waterfowl
Chestnut Mt. Game Fowl
Ciotti, Paulette
DeSarro Wildlife Resources
Dry Creek Waterfowl
Dunlap Hatchery
Early, Helen
Elk Creek Gamebirds
Elkhorn Farms & Hatchery
Forest Hills Game Farm
Frederick Packaging, Inc.
Fuzzy’s Pheasant Farm
Giese Waterfowl Hatchery
Gilman Farms
Guinea Farm
Guinea Fowl Breeders Assc.
Harders Hatchery
Harper’s Game Farm
Heart of Am.Game Breeders Assoc.
Hoovers Hatchery
Horizon-Micro Environment
Iowa State Pegeon Assoc.
Ideal Poultry Breeding Farms
International Fed. American Homing Pegeon
Jumper, Randy
Kuhl Corporation
Longs Exotic Birds and Waterfowl
MacFarlane Pheasant Farm Inc
Maddalena, Chris
Mahantango Game Farm
Marti Poultry Farm
Martz’s Game Farm
MI Bird & Game Breeders Assoc.
Murray McMurray Hatchery, Inc.
Metzer Farms
Michael J Maloney
MN State Poultry Ass’n
Moyer’s Chicks Inc.
Mt. Healthy Hatchery, Inc
Oakwood Game Farm, Inc
Orchard View Game Farm
Orlopp Turkey Breeding Farm
Passantino, Joe & Judith
Poultry Press
Rickman, Terry & Betty
Robocker, Cathryn
Ridgway Hatcheries, Inc.
Rock-N-Cedar Exotic Fowl
Schlecht Farm & Hatchery
Simpson Branch Game Farm
Stromberg’s Chicks-Game Birds
Sundance Stock Farm
Sunnyside, Inc.
Toubl Game Bird Farm
Townline Hatchery
Twin Cedar Farm
United Peafowl Assoc.
Duane & Phyllis Urch
Weed, Harold
Welp Hatchery
WJH Birds
Zimms Nursery

February 23, 2004

Dear BSA Member:
On Friday, January 23rd, Bill MacFarlane of MacFarlane Pheasant Farms (Wisconsin); Janet Crouch, Ideal Poultry (Texas); myself, McMurray Hatcheries (Iowa); and BSA consultant, Stephen S. Boynton; met with Mark Reisinger, Legislative Assistant to Senator Grassley (R-Iowa); Erica Pagel, Legislative Assistant to Senator Finegold (D-WI); Paul E. Vogel, Vice President, Network Operations, United States Postal Service (USPS); John Bonafilia, Manager, Commercial Operation, USPS; and Shelia T. Meyers, Manager, Government Relations USPS; to discuss the surcharge to be imposed by Northwest Airlines for the air mail shipment of poultry and other issues.
First of all, the meeting was very cordial, informative and productive and will be very useful for future contacts with the USPS on issues important to the industry. I believe we all felt that the USPS is interested in solving problems and not just “stone walling” problems. The obvious bipartisan interest of Members of Congress was certainly not lost on the representatives of the USPS – especially actually meeting in Senator Grassley’s office. The results of the meeting were as follows:
1. Surcharge – As you will recall, the reason stated by Northwest Airlines (NW) for its decision not to continue carry domestic mail is that under a new contract system of biding mail contracts, as opposed to the previous procedure of negotiating contracts, NW’s share went from 12% of the market to 2%. Although NW does continue to carry international mail, it made the business decision not to continue to carry domestic mail. Responding to BSA concerns, the USPS entered into discussions with NW to obtain a special concession to carry “lives” by mail; at the Minneapolis-St. Paul hub. After considerable discussions, NW proposed a “non-negotiable” $1.00 surcharge in addition to the postage for such service. Initially, it was suggested by the USPS that the other airlines would be afforded the opportunity to a similar surcharge.
After our discussions, it was determined that no additional surcharge would be permitted to be charged by other air carriers. The $1.00 surcharge would only be charged to customers using Northwest Airline flights originating in Minneapolis-St.Paul. (If you use any other airline you will not be charged the $1.00 surcharge and if you take your birds to Minneapolis/St. Paul AMF, and they fly by Northwest, you will be charged the $1.00/pound.)
Northwest Airline will only handle birds at the Minneapolis/St. Paul AMF facility. If you do not go to Minneapolis/St Paul to ship your birds you must use airlines other than Northwest to carry your birds. If you have questions regarding this, please contact your transportation specialist at the AMF you ship from. THIS GOES INTO EFFECT SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28TH.
In subsequent discussions with Mr. Reisinger and Ms. Pagel, Congressional efforts will be explored to “equalize” the difference between the surcharge of NW (of $1.00) and the surcharge of other airlines (of $.20) by some sort of tax credit scheme where no additional cost would result to shippers. We will follow through with this effort.
2. Bid Contract-Negotiated Contracts
Unfortunately, because of the considerable savings to the users and the USPS under the bid contact system, the previous negotiated contract procedure will not be used again. Consequently, NW will probably not ever carry domestic mail again.
3. Temperature Issue
One of the continuing problems is that most air carriers impose an 85 degree F cut off where they will not ship “lives” if the temperature reaches that level on the tarmac. This standard is found in the regulations under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and has no application to day-old chicks (even though the AWA standard calls for such temperature levels for four hours). BSA has obtained a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that supports the position that such a standard is unnecessary for avian. However, the USPS says it does not have the authority to force the air lines to abide by any particular rule on temperature in the shipments of “lives.” We (legally) disagreed with this position as to their authority.
As a compromise, we are to supply the USPS with documentation over an above what we have already supplied and they have agreed to send it to all air lines as an “unofficial- official” guideline of the USPS in shipping birds.
4. Federal Express
As you recall, Federal Express has taken the legal position that it is not covered by the amendment we obtained that states that all air carriers of mail must take poultry as air mail if it does not regularly and commonly refuse to carry live animals as cargo. Federal Express states that it does not commonly or regularly ship “lives.” In fact, Federal Express does take such shipments for the pet industry, zoos and aquariums, medical research and, we are informed in some cases, birds. The USPS would like Federal Express to take shipments of poultry.
The USPS says that if we can document that fact that such shipments are taken by Federal Express, they will confront Federal Express the position that it is covered by the amendment. This position will be the same issue with UPS in possible forthcoming negotiations with the USPS and USPS will bring up the issue of coverage.
5. Transfer of Shipments
The USPS is required to take shipments of day-old chicks even though there may be a transfer of the shipment along the route to another airplane of the original shipment airline or even if it is transferred to air carrier. [If any postal employee informs a shipper differently, the USPS will call that individual and explain the procedure].
In sum, I believe we all were encouraged by the response of USPS. We have some “homework” to do and will keep you informed. Any suggestions or comments are welcomed.
Murray McMurray

January 5, 2004 – Airline Surcharge

Representatives of the United States Postal Service (USPS) have informed our lobbyist, Steve Boynton, that Northwest Airlines has submitted a proposal to the USPS that it would carry poultry by air mail for a non-negotiable surcharge of $1.00 per pound, plus regular priority mail postage. This charge would take effect in the later part of February. This rate, if accepted, would apply to all airlines carrying live poultry in addition to Northwest Airlines.
Unfortunately, the alternative to this dilemma is to lose another airline (Northwest) from the shrinking number of carriers and to truck your birds either to other airlines or connecting destinations. We are letting you know that this surcharge is a very strong possibility and you should make adjustments now in setting your shipping costs. (In my own case, McMurray Hatchery has gone ahead and figured the additional shipping costs at $1.00 per pound and recalculated our mailing costs for all size boxes going air mail.)
The Bird Shippers of America, through our lobbyist, are in the process of requesting Congressional representatives to organize a meeting with the USPS concerning the surcharge matter as well as other issues. The BSA Board feels that when we discuss the surcharge issues we should make every effort through this meeting to obtain needed concessions on certain other issues of concern to the industry such as temperature restrictions, cargo transfers and other matters which inhibit our ability to ship successfully. If this can be done remains to be seen but we feel an effort must be made to do so.
There is never an easy solution to these problems. It is important to look down the road at these most difficult times and make the choices which best allows our industry to continue to get our products to our customers and keeps us all in business.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation in this most delicate matter. As always, we look forward to input from any of you. Please feel free to contact any of the board members with your questions or concerns.
Murray McMurray, Chairman