Thousands of Chicks Smothered, Crushed, and Lost During Mail Shipment

Chicks shipped through the U.S. Postal Service are getting smothered, crushed, and lost in postal warehouses.

Day-old chicks, ducklings, and other animals have been mailed to U.S. farmers for decades. But in recent weeks, nearly 5,000 chicks shipped to Maine farmers arrived dead. Thousands more who moved through a USPS processing center in Massachusetts also died. Rhiannon Hampson—a Maine poultry farmer—found her box of chicks eerily quiet when she picked it up from the post office:
We could hear a few, very faint peeps. Out of 500, there were maybe 25 alive. They were staggering. It was terrible.
While recent USPS struggles have led to more animal deaths, the surge draws attention to a deeper problem—why are baby animals being treated like unfeeling products? Chicks are packaged in cardboard boxes, meaning that Hampson’s 25 surviving chicks not only endured the horrific conditions that killed 500 others but were forced to live among dead bodies until the box was opened.

Pauline Henderson, another Maine poultry farmer, stated that all 800 of the chicks she had ordered had died en route. Although they arrived in the usual time frame, she believes the chicks had been mishandled during transit. She 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.
While the deaths of thousands of chicks due to mishandling during shipping is a tragedy, even accepting that “one or two” out of a hundred will die speaks to the way farmed animals are viewed as commodities instead of as living beings.

Chickens are smart, sensitive animals who pass down knowledge from generation to generation. They are able to recognize more than 100 individual faces—including those of humans!—and can empathize with one another. Just as we would not send puppies or kittens through the mail, chicks and other baby farmed animals deserve better treatment.

You can help chickens by choosing delicious plant-based food. Check out the many tasty vegan chicken products, or discover egg-cellent recipes that don’t use eggs. You can also learn more about plant-based eating by downloading our FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide.