United Poultry Concerns
Promoting the compassionate and respectful
treatment of domestic fowl

PO Box 150 • Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(757) 678-7875 • FAX (757) 678-5070

August 31, 2001
Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875
Northwest Airlines Did Right to Ban Airmail Shipping of Live Birds

Machipongo,VA - Northwest Airlines is right to stop carrying newborn chicks, ducklings, goslings, and other animals for the U.S. Postal Service. According to Northwest, the airline 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."

The stress of airmail shipping for newborn birds and other animals includes injury, malnutrition, water deprivation, poor (or no) ventilation, crowding, and fear. Airmail shipping may take days including stopovers, delayed flights, and long distances. Packages are treated roughly by many different handlers. When chicks are jostled, crushed, or dropped, their yolks leak or rupture.

The U.S. Postal Service misleadingly defends its inhumane practice in claiming that newborn chicks can go without food or water for 72 hours. In fact, the most time that the first chick of a brood hatched under a mother hen has to wait to eat and drink is 48 hours.

According to The Veterinary Record, "by the time a hatch is completed, many of the birds will have been out of their eggs for several hours." When it comes to any kind of shipping, "a consignment of 'day-old' chicks will therefore include individuals of different ages. In North America, earlier hatching chicks could be held in the incubator for up to 36 hours after hatching." THIS IS BEFORE THE LIVE TRANSPORT HAS EVEN BEGUN.

Newly hatched chicks kept for up to 48 hours without food or water show dehydration, and two days after hatching, they have virtually no yolk sac left, meaning no nutrients. Such chicks, according to Feedstuffs, are more likely to die or show long-term weaknesses than chicks who start eating and drinking within a few hours of hatching.

"It's time for Delta, Continental, and US Airways to join Northwest Airlines in creating kinder skies," says United Poultry Concerns president Karen Davis. "When the humane community has a choice, we choose ethically progressive airlines. We applaud Northwest Airlines for its humane action and urge the other airlines to do likewise."

United Poultry Concerns is a national nonprofit organization promoting the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information visit www.UPC-online.org.

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