This was posted on many of the poultry boards and lists.
The USair and American contracts are being terminated NOW, and as of March 5 (THIS Saturday), Delta will no longer TRANSFER ANY kind of mail from one plane to another (they are closing all their transfer stations to save money). This means people shipping birds will have to do a lot more research and work closely with their local airport postal center to ship chicks or birds. It won't be impossible, but it will be a lot harder than it used to be.
KEEPING the legal RIGHT to send live mail will be harder than living with the short-term solutions currently being worked out.
The hatcheries are all supporting the Bird Shippers of America (BSA), which anyone can join. If you call the number at the bottom of their home page, it is the main number for Murray McMurray hatchery.
Bird Shippers of America
PLEASE join BSA even though it costs $50 (think how much you stand to lose if you can't ship birds any more!) It took HUGE amounts of lobbying (which isn't cheap) to resolve the problem in 2001, but it WAS resolved by these same people. AND if they ask you to, PLEASE send all the emails and letters they recommend.
To resolve this problem, BSA needs both financial support and EVIDENCE of commitment and support from a broad base. Thousands and thousands of people buy or ship birds every year. If they aren't on one of these lists, they may not know about the new crisis till it's too late.
BSA is trying to update their web page, the man who normally maintains it is at home very sick, or the updates would already be up there.
I just got off the phone with Murray McMurray himself (he is Chairman of BSA). He says BSA really NEEDS support now to work on this, otherwise the government may not believe enough voters care about it for them to need to worry about our shipping needs.
USair and American could be reinstated to carry mail for the PO by late March or early April IF they improve their performance to 90% acceptable. Since they are lucrative contracts, color them motivated.
Two shipping companies (Airborne and AirTran) have agreed to subcontract to Northwest (which does not, itself, carry live mail) to carry live mail for Northwest. I don't know when that will start, but soon.
Even though Delta will not transfer mail (to another Delta flight OR another airline), you are not limited to direct flights on Delta. If your PO can find a flight from your local airport that takes live mail and connects TO Delta, Delta will still accept live mail transferred to them by another airline, so they can be used for the last leg of the trip.
Mr McMurray said it won't be easy, but he expects things to be much better by mid-April, IF enough people join BSA, and write letters and emails to their congress people and the postal service, stating that they want assurance of continued safe, prompt delivery of live mail, and for the PO to be required to make that a condition of future contracts, so they can provide quick delivery anywhere in the country.
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