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
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.