Oakland Animal Services came to the aid of more than 500 day-old chicks taken into custody at Oakland Airport. The chicks were being transported by the United States Postal Service from a Santa Cruz hatchery to a destination in Washington State on Tuesday, May 13.
The Oakland Airport Postal Service discovered many sick and some dead
chicks among the shipment of five boxes of 106 chicks each – or 530
total – and contacted Oakland Animal Services for assistance; 47 birds
were found dead. The chicks were from Cal Cruz Hatchery in Santa Cruz
and when reaching Oakland airport had already been traveling for over 24
hours before Oakland Animal Services impounded them.
Animal Place, which frequently works with animal control agencies to
help find adoptive homes for farmed animals confiscated in cruelty
cases, is working to help place the chicks. Because the rescued birds
are “broilers”, or chickens raised for meat, they are bred for rapid
growth so they can be slaughtered at six weeks of age.
“Shipping chicks through the postal service is common practice. It is
a given that many will die in route, but the losses are expected and
accepted by industry,” said Adam Parascandola, Oakland Animal Services
director. “These poor chicks were less than a day old before their
nightmarish journey began.”
“It should be illegal to transport any animal through the postal
service, let alone day-old chicks,” said Kim Sturla, Animal Place
director. “This is another example of treating farmed animals as
commodities and not living creatures. If only people knew the suffering
that went into their roasted chicken!”
It is legal to ship young birds through the mail, as long as they are
under 24 hours old when presented for shipping, and delivered to the
receiver within 72 hours. The practice of sending chicks through the
postal service began over 100 years ago, when the first commercial
hatchery in America sent 50 chicks from New Jersey to Illinois in 1892.
Today, millions of chicks are shipped each year through the mail,
without food or water or proper housing, and as a result, large numbers
die before reaching their destination, while many more suffer
unnecessarily. Animal advocates have long condemned the practice, and
although the U.S. Postal Service has instituted modest policy changes,
transport of live animals through the mail remains inhumane and results
in countless deaths each year.