When you think about it…is mailing live animals okay?

Photo by Geri-Jean Blanchard

The U.S. Postal Service has strict guidelines on what can and cannot be sent through the mails. But where living, breathing, sentient beings are concerned, the service seems to have a mixed opinion as to what is okay and what is not okay to mail.

Recently, a Minneapolis mother tried to mail a four-month-old puppy to her son in Atlanta. She put the puppy in a box, taped it up, and took the box to the post office. The clerk took the package and the woman’s $22; but when the box started moving and making sounds, the clerk opened it up to find a panting pup.

People were outraged that this mother would endanger the life of a puppy by putting him in a box and shipping him through the mails. But do these same people know that other live animals are shipped routinely through the U.S. Postal Service?

According to the USPS website, it’s okay to ship baby chicks, rooster, and ducks as well as adult chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, doves, pigeons, pheasants, partridges, quail, and ducks. You can also mail salamanders, lizards, snails, tadpoles, and bees, among other animals and insects. But it’s not okay to ship cats, dogs, hamsters, mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, squirrels, parakeets, and canaries.

Shipping live animals requires specific “packaging requirements” and that “shipments containing live animals should expect a 2-3 day transport….” Which means, these live animals aren’t “next day delivery” packages; they aren’t on the fast track to their destination. Instead, they are confined for a couple days while being moved from one mode of transportation to another until they reach their final destination. Some reach their final destination before the 2-3 days—they die.

Outrage over the puppy being mailed should extend to outrage over any live animal being boxed, wrapped, and labeled. When you think about it…shouldn’t the shipping of all live animals through the U.S. Postal Service be against regulation? Whether the packaging requirements have been met or not, these are living, breathing, sentient beings. They deserve better treatment.

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