Improving & Expanding Mail Service For Shipping
Quail, Pheasants, Partridges, & Other Game Birds
& Waterfowl (Ducks, Geese, & Swans)!
by Debbie Gibson
Mail service for game birds and waterfowl through the U. S. Postal Service has been available for many years. The service was made available years ago after being proposed and fought for by the the Game Bird Gazette magazine and others in the game bird and poultry industries. It has proven to be a good and efficient means of transport. Game bird hobbyists, commercial gamebird farms, the poultry industry, universities, schools, 4-H, and others depend on the U. S. Postal Service for delivery of adult game birds, waterfowl, poultry, day-old chicks, and hatching eggs.
The post office contracts with the airlines and other carriers to transport the mail over long distances. Unfortunately, the major airlines and other air carriers have been under pressure from powerful humane and animal rights groups to stop transporting live birds for the post office. Some air carriers succumbed to this pressure, yet the post office continued to award them with new or renewed contracts. In editorials over the years, the Game Bird Gazette urged the post office to sign contracts for mail delivery only with those air carriers who agree to deliver all of the mail, including live birds accepted as mail by the post office, such as gamebirds and waterfowl. The Gazette magazine editor has also testified on this at Congressional hearings. The post office has now substantially accepted our position and both Fedex and UPS were awarded contracts with the post office under which they are now transporting game birds and waterfowl. But we must not "rest on our laurels," and everyone should continue to contact their representatives in congress on a regular basis to ensure the best and most economical mail and other transport of our gamebirds, waterfowl, chicks, and eggs continues and improves.
We must insist that the U. S. Postal Service continue to award its lucrative contracts only to air carriers and others who will agree to accept all of the mail so the post office can fulfill its obligations under the law. Contracting with air carriers that want to "pick and choose" what mail items will be delivered (under pressure from humane groups and animal rights protestors) is simply inappropriate and not businesslike. Most of the airlines and other air carriers need the business of the post office and some cannot survive without it. We must continue telling our representatives in Congress that post office contracts must go only to air carriers who agree to accept all live birds that are mailable according to the current provisions of the U. S. Postal Service's Domestic Mail Manual (DMM).
Animal rights activists continue to lobby and complain to the post office that parrots are not allowed to be mailed under the (DMM), and ask why gamebirds and waterfowl should receive special treatment and be accepted for mailing? As the Gazette editor has pointed out at Congressional hearings over the decades, game birds have filled a different role in our history and culture and have been considered of greater economic and recreational importance. Let's face it, whether you're a hunter or not, the time honored and hugely popular tradition of hunting game birds and waterfowl is a primary reason why game birds have come to be viewed in a different way by Congress and state legislatures. And the practice of breeding and raising wild type game birds as a hobby or business in the USA goes all the way back to George Washington who maintained this pheasant at his Mt. Vernon home.
As previously mentioned, pheasants, quail, partridges, guinea fowl, and certain other gamebirds and waterfowl (ducks, geese and swans) have historically received special consideration from Congress at the urging of the Game Bird Gazette magazine and other organizations that have been fighting hard to preserve the rights of game bird and waterfowl breeders for decades. For example, the only birds that were completely exempted from provisions of the Wild Bird Conservation Act were several families of game birds and all waterfowl. The Gazette magazine editor was one of those who fought hard to get game birds and waterfowl completely excluded from the legislation and he was called before Congress to testify on our behalf.
Included and restricted under that legislation were psittacines and most other birds, but pheasants, quail, partridges, guinea fowl, turkeys, ratites, ducks, geese and swans were specifically excluded from this onerous legislation. Most leaders in the game bird world at the time thought that we would not be successful, but the Gazette editor and others fought on relentlessly with the support of key members of the congressional committees drafting the legislation, some of whom were Gazette members. The animal rights and humane groups were stunned and outraged when they saw us succeed in the legislative process. The animal rights lobby could not believe that we were able to get gamebirds completely excluded from the restrictive legislation when parrot type birds and most others were! We were successful in keeping our game birds and waterfowl out of the clutches of this burdonsome and restrictive law because our members convinced lawmakers that both the preservation of the resource and game bird breeders would be best served by not being placed under restrictions of the Act. Game bird and waterfowl breeders continue to play a vital role in helping to preserve gamebird species and in promoting the continued educational and recreational value of breeding game birds as a hobby or business.
Through the good work of the Gazette, its editor, and others, we have successfully warded off many other proposed laws or regulations promoted by humane and animal rights groups over the decades that would have devastated our hobbies and businesses. We've done it in the past and we can continue to preserve our rights today, but only if we continue to make our position known to our legislators! Our members must continue to educate lawmakers so that our ability to mail our game birds under the Domestic Mail Manual will be protected and expanded to better serve the resource, game bird and waterfowl breeders, education interests, etc. So, contact your member of congress and senators regularly and tell them to contact the post office on your behalf and let the post office know how important this service is ti tiy and that it should be improved and expanded in every way possible.
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