It may sound like something that never actually happens in real life: sending live animals in packages via mail. But, unfortunately, it is not an impossible scenario at all. Millions of newborn chicks and ducklings are sent through the mail, packed in boxes, addressed and dispatched on their way – just as if they were inanimate objects.
In a petition on the matter, launched on Care2, the animal rights organization Farm Sanctuary points to some facts about this practice. The birds sent through mail are usually barely one-day-old, and on their journey, they are sent with no food or water whatsoever. Most of these birds are sent for the egg-laying business. Amazingly, cross-country excursions the animals have to endure stuffed in dark boxes can take up to as many as 72 hours.
It’s a common occurrence that some chicks will die along the way. Because of that, hatcheries sometimes pack “extra” animals. Usually, Farm Sanctuary points out, those additional chicks are male ones for whom there is no use in the industry – and are, in fact, so devalued that they have been referred to by the industry as just “packing material.”
Baby chicks make for fantastic Easter card visuals and, like most baby animals, they get a ton of “awwws” from us all – but the truth about what happens to newborn chickens in the meat and egg industry is something most of us would rather look away from. In the egg industry, male chicks are “culled” shortly after the beginning of their lives, since they will not lay eggs, they are considered useless. Chicks are generally “stored” in commercial containers that hold an average of 80 to 100 animals per box and lead to overheating. The inhumane conditions of their transport is one of the many issues that are cause for concern – and it should be stopped.
Farm Sanctuary is now leading the fight to put an end to this mindless and cruel way of handling living creatures. “We believe that farm animals should be treated as individuals, not warehoused on factory farms, or boxed, stamped, and sent through the mail without any legal protection whatsoever,” the group writes.
You can join this initiative – click here to sign the petition to the U.S. Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan to ban shipments of live animals!
Image source: SanduStefan/Pixabay