Tester Demands Postal Service Reverse Embargo on Mailing Live Animals

Senator: “I am hearing directly from Montanans that are suffering because of this short-sighted decision”

Following an outcry among Montana agriculture producers, U.S. Senator Jon Tester-the Senate’s only working farmer-today demanded that United States Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reverse the agency’s embargo on mailing live animals, which has severely impacted Montana’s family farmers.

“I am troubled to learn the USPS recently decided to stop allowing shipments of live animals, like day old chicks, because the USPS cannot handle its backlog of packages,” wrote Tester. “Montanans rely on the service for their livelihood and food supply. I urge the USPS to immediately rescind this shipping embargo and refrain from similar actions in the future.”

Tester continued: “I am hearing directly from Montanans that are suffering because of this short sighted decision. Some Montana producers who raise chickens rely on the USPS to deliver day old chicks from hatcheries in other states. This practice works because those chicks have three days to live from absorbing their yolk prior to hatching. It is absolutely unacceptable for Montana’s economy to suffer because USPS does not have policies in place to guarantee a delivery within three days.”

“The Postal Service is critical to our farm and to our customers here in Montana, but this embargo on mailing live animals is disrupting operations and jeopardizing our bottom line,” said Beau McLean, owner of Living River Farms in Stevensville. “We raise 13,000 chickens and sell them to restaurants, grocery stores, and customers throughout Montana, and for half the year, we rely on the USPS to deliver day-old chicks to our farm three weeks out of every month. We simply can’t run our business if the chicks aren’t delivered on time, so we hope the Postal Service responds to Senator Tester’s letter by reversing course here and committing not to implement policies like this in the future.”

Senator Tester has repeatedly held Postmaster DeJoy accountable for USPS policy changes that have delayed mail, threatened to undermine the agency, and harmed rural America. Last summer, Tester blew the whistle on USPS for removing dozens of mail collection boxes from towns across Montana, leading USPS to pause its removal of collection boxes nationwide until after the November election. Since the beginning of the pandemic, thousands of Montanans have contacted Tester to express concerns about mail delays and their effects on Montana’s frontier communities.

Read Tester’s full letter HERE.