United States Postal Service: Stop Shipping Live Animals

Target: United States Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe

Goal: Don’t allow the shipment of live animals

The United States Postal Service is considering changing mailing standards to allow shipment of all birds weighing up to 25 pounds. The birds are commonly shipped in cardboard boxes with air holes at the top. Last year, about 1,000 baby chicks died in transit after having been left in a truck during 105 degree weather. The chicks were being shipped from Iowa to Kentucky.

As of today, the USPS allows shipping of live adult birds that weigh over 6 ounces, or day-old poultry such as turkeys, guinea fowl, and geese. Worst of all, these birds must be transported without food or water in case the package breaks. The USPS doesn’t consider how being trapped in a box for days without water will affect these birds, and deaths due to starvation, extreme temperatures, and mishandling are common.

The USPS also ships live scorpions, bees, and small cold-blooded animals such as insects and reptiles. Again, these animals must be shipped without food or water. The Humane Society has called for shipment of animals to be confined to weather between 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit and limiting car or truck time to 4 hours, but so far the USPS follows no such guidelines.

The USPS may need more business these days, but these animals should not be paying the price. This is clearly animal abuse, and will continue to lead to more deaths. Urge the USPS to stop transporting live animals.


Dear Mr. Donahoe,

We are writing to protest the United States Postal Service’s shipment of live animals. After the deaths of 1,000 baby chickens last year in 105 degree weather at a Louisville, Kentucky mail-processing plant, we would have been led to believe that the USPS’ shipping standards for live animals would become more, not less stringent.

However, it has come to our attention that the USPS is now allowing shipment of all birds under 25 pounds, along with small, harmless, cold-blooded animals, bees, and scorpions. Worst of all, these animals are being shipped with no food or water.

It is hardly a surprise that these chickens died under these conditions, and it will not be a surprise if thousands, perhaps even millions more animals die as a result of your shipping standards. We urge you to stop shipping live animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: knitting iris via Flickr

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  1. J Davidson says:

    Definitely not the way to transport living beings, and this atrocity must be abolished now!!!

  2. Animals shipped from breeding farms to pet stores arent even taken care of properly..they often arrive starved, dehydrated, or dead..and now the post office wants to ship live animals? they are LIVING BREATHING creatures with SOULS. If they arent in crates with plenty of air circulation, air and food and in AC during hot weather although not too cold, you have no business even considering it.

    • The post office has been doing this for decades, so it’s not a “now they want to ship live animals”. They are only considering expanding what they ship.

  3. Pure infantile primitivism – what kind of idiotic monsters are able to handle and destroy living creatures in that way is unbelievable – monsters are not humans and deserves monsterwork too.

    People need to vote unacting dumb authorities and officials acting irresponsibly to futuregenerations out of occupations NOW AND FOR ALL!

    “While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal positions on this earth?”
    George Bernhard Shaw

  4. Robert Ortiz says:

    There are much better, efficient and safer methods.

  5. I have, and know many other people who have, ordered chicks from hatcheries that were delivered by USPS. None of us have ever received a dead chick in our orders. I live in AZ and have ordered at least 50 chicks every time. I know this seems harsh but, they are shipped in special boxes, within hours of hatching usually because the yolk gets absorbed into their bodies right before hatching, therefore don’t need to eat or drink for up to 3 days. Most hatcheries wont ship orders under 50 count due to not enough bodies to keep warm and will even throw in extra chicks to increase chances. I no longer order from hatcheries as, they have poor breeding stock (Most of their chickens turn out to be faulty)and I breed for purity and to conserve heritage and rare breeds. Also, shipping NEVER takes more than 2-3 days. They are shipped by air, in air conditioned/heated rooms. Please do not respond negatively to this comment, I only meant to inform as after reading these comments I noticed that there is no real facts posted. I do not support hatcheries, not because they ship through USPS (NO OTHER COMPANIES WILL SHIP LIVE ANIMALS) but because they are almost as bad as puppy mills. They breed mass quantities of supposed RARE breeds but do not breed for all characteristics. Example, I was given a beautiful blue wyandotte chicken by a friend who ordered her from a hatchery a few years ago. They are rare. At first glance, she looks perfect BUT has grey legs….I was going to use her for breeding but she should have yellow legs. It would be too much of a pain to breed the grey legs out later on so she is just a pretty pet now.

  6. Esther Wolk says:

    It’s very cruel and inhumane to ship animals via the postal service and I say this from personal experience as an Express Mail clerk.

  7. Rhino9_5 says:

    Chick thru the mail for over 100years. Chicks live off yolk for 1st 72 hours. Not cruel, but cool and a way to keep many breeds going. Get facts first, then buy some chicks and have them delivered.

  8. I understand the outrage many of you feel, but your anger is misdirected. The fault lies with the people who handle the birds from point A to point B – not the breeders. Chicks do not require food for the first two or three days, as they are sustained by the last of the yolk just before hatch. In a natural situation, this allows all of the chicks to emerge – which can occur over a 36-hour period or more for an average clutch – and dry off and become mobile before the hen takes the chicks out of the nest for the first time. The cause of death for many of the animals is not the act of shipping itself, but the way the animals are handled by the shipping agents. Chicks are left out on boiling hot, or freezing cold, docks; birds are shipped in compartments that contain dry ice; they are dropped, or stored smothered by other containers. Is this the fault of the breeders? Shipping is frequently the only way to preserve a rare breed, because it allows breeders to ship animals to others who can help preserve that breed or species. People who are not involved with birds may hear their peeping and chirping as a sign of distress. It certainly can be, but let me tell you, I have had numerous clutched hatch under hens in my own room, and they never shut up! They couldn’t be less distressed in a quiet environment under their mom. Are those of you who are so outraged at this practice going to volunteer to drive birds across the country the next time they need to be moved? Please, before you get so upset over this issue, educate yourself a bit. And, direct your outrage at the right people.

  9. I work at a wildlife rehabilitation center, http://www.wildbirdfund.org. Someone brought us a box of baby chicks that had been sent by someone as a “joke.” They arrived unconscious, cold as ice cubes, struggling to breathe, severely dehydrated. They had shipped from Kansas City to New York in the dead of winter and spent two days in a box freezing cold with no water. For anyone who doesn’t know, cold and dehydration are death sentences for baby birds–this is animal care 101. We are an overworked, donation-based nonprofit, and we are spending hundreds of dollars and many man hours nursing the surviving babies back to health. It’s the least that can be done for these poor babies who were so severely tortured. Anyone who is defending this practice is a reprehensible human being.

    • I’d thank you not to call me a reprehensible human being. If you feel you are so over-worked at your job, maybe you should find another one. You should be helping animals because you want to help animals, not because you want to degrade your fellow humans. In any case, if you do want to be mad at some humans, you are putting the blame with the wrong people, it’s not the breeders or sellers, it’s the postal service. I might add, no one is going to send chicks as “a joke” it costs too much money, they obviously lied to you.

    • No one sends a box of chicks as a joke. That is a very expensive joke. Since you can’t ship less than 25 chicks usually in winter that would amount to at least 90 dollars for the chicks and another 30 for shipping fees.

      Furthermore chicks do not need food or water for the first three days of life. Thats why they are shipped 2nd day priority mail through the USPS. IF they do arrive in poor condition that is because the USPS handled them improperly.

  10. Terri Morgan says:

    My shipment of baby chicks arrived today all dead. They arrived fine in Omaha from Cleveland, shipped by Fedex air under contract with usps, but when then usps got hold of them again, on a hot hot day they stuck them in the back of a truck from Omaha to North Platte all day long. They probably died in the first hour. My phone number was right on the package, why did someone not think to call and say its to hot, you better hit the road and come get them because we are not sending them out!!!! They promised me all day long they would be in the cab of the truck with the driver, then I am finally told no mail is allowed with the driver and they are just maiL!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Mitchell Phipps says:

    People who know nothing about the care of these birds need to mind their own business. Most breeders feed their birds the best of feed. They do not put in all that effort to carelessly endanger them by sending them except the way the us postal service instructs them to. If you ask me the postal service needs to look at some of their worker or their procedures. I think that this is another way to take more freedoms away from the average working people of America. I feel that the human society is part of an organization to take away peoples freedom that our forefathers fought and died for.

  12. Y’all need to get a grip. There is no way to get chickens, or other fowl except to ship them through the USPS service. They are the only ones that ship live animals as well as bees. You want to kill off the bee population real fast? Prevent us from ordering bees to build new hives and repopulate them and you will be the death knell to the bee population. WHy don’t you people think before you start protesting. sheesh

  13. One more thing, Some idiot did not do their research on bees. Bees ARE ALWAYS shipped with sugar water which is food and water in one can. They are ALWAYS shipped that way. Might ought to do some real research on it

  14. Stacey Barnes says:

    My turtles came wrapped in a paper towel then placed in another cloth which was then duck tapped that was then placed in a small box with plastic wrap around it and crammed in a 2 day envelope which a plastic bag around it so it wouldnt wiggle. SHAME SHAME SHAME..these poor babies died due to this shipping.

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