USPS Delays, Mishandling Resulting In Deliveries Of Dead Chicks To Maine Farms
According to The Portland Press Herald, a number of “Maine poultry farms have received shipments of hundreds of young chicks that died in transit by the U.S. Postal Service, either because the shipments were delayed or mishandled.”
- The newspaper reported that Pauline Henderson, “who owns and operates Pine Tree Poultry, a family farm and chicken meat processing facility that specializes in chicken pot pies,” was shocked to find a shipment of 800 chicks from a Pennsylvania hatchery were all dead on arrival last week.
- Henderson said, “We’ve never had a problem like this before. Usually they arrive every three weeks like clockwork. And out of 100 birds you may have one or two that die in shipping.”
- In this case, Henderson believes the chicks were mishandled, as the shipment arrived in the normal time.
- She also “said thousands of birds that moved through the Postal Service’s processing center in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts all met the same fate, affecting several farms in Maine and New Hampshire.”
The Herald wrote that “What was once a reliable and safe method of transporting chicks has apparently been undermined by widespread overhauls of operations at the U.S. Postal Service.”
- Those overhauls include “cutbacks in sorting equipment, ending extra trips by carriers and an edict to end all overtime by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.”
- “Some Democrats accuse DeJoy of intentionally raising concerns about the timely delivery of absentee ballots in the November election, sowing concern and confusion among voters as President Trump repeatedly asserts – without evidence – that mail-in voting is vulnerable to fraud,” The Herald noted.
Maine’s 1st District U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, is raising the issue of the dead chicks and the losses Maine farms are facing in a letter to DeJoy and U.S. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sonny Perdue. Pingree’s office has received dozens of complaints from farmers and other Mainers trying to raise a small flock of chickens in the backyard.
- “It’s one more of the consequences of this disorganization, this sort of chaos they’ve created at the post office and nobody thought through when they were thinking of slowing down the mail,” Pingree said, adding: “And can you imagine, you have young kids and they are getting all excited about having a backyard flock and you go to the post office and that’s what you find?”
- Pingree said Maine farms have received at least 4,800 dead chicks in recent weeks.
“Mortality losses from delays and mishandling are not only hugely problematic from an animal welfare perspective, but have also taken an emotional toll on the recipients, many of whom are families building a backyard flock or children raising birds for 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA) projects,” Pingree wrote. “For these families, receiving chicks in the mail is a longstanding tradition, and with family farms in America already struggling to keep younger generations engaged and interested in agriculture, these negative experiences could significantly undermine those efforts.”
“Rural Americans, including agricultural producers, disproportionately rely on USPS for their livelihoods, and it is essential that they receive reliable service,” Pingree said.
- According to The Herald, “The Postal Service is the only entity that ships live chicks and other small animals and has done so since 1918.”