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USPS Domestic Mail Manual (DMM)
Updated August 01, 2014
Domestic Mail Manual
(we will always be adding to the DMM, and all it's addenda)
The Postal Service received numerous comments in response to its April 24, 2014 proposed rule. As a result of these comments, the Postal Service has decided to proceed only with the expanded mailability of adult birds, and not to continue with the other proposals at this time. However, the Postal Service may reconsider these proposals at a future date.
DMM Revision: Expansion of the Mailability of Live Adult Birds
Effective September 3, 2014, the Postal Service™ will revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) 601.9.3.4 to expand the mailability of adult birds to include any disease-free live adult bird, weighing no more than 25 pounds, if the mailer and the mailing is compliant with all applicable governmental laws and regulations.
The DMM provides a list of the types of disease-free adult birds that can be mailed domestically. That list is currently restricted to adult chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, doves, pigeons, pheasants, partridges, quail, ducks, geese, and swans.
With this revision, the Postal Service expands its mailing standards to allow for the shipment of any disease-free live adult bird, weighing no more than 25 pounds, which can be legally transported. Mailers will be required to be aware of, and comply with, all applicable governmental laws and regulations, including the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and any state, municipal, or local ordinances. Mailings must also be compliant with the guidelines provided in USPS Publication 14, Prohibitions and Restrictions on Mailing Animals, Plants, and Related Matter, Chapter 5.
This revision was first announced in the April 24, 2013 proposed rule, Federal Register notice (78 FR 24132-24134), titled New Mailing Standards for Live Animals and Special Handling. In addition to the expanded mailability of live birds, the proposed rule also included new requirements for the use of Special Handling service with shipments of certain live animals, new barcoding requirements for Special Handling service, and a restriction on the mail classes that can be used with mailings of live reptiles and amphibians.
9.3 Live Animals
The USPS does not accept any shipment of animals that the USPS reasonably believes cannot reach its destination in a viable condition. Such a determination is based on factors including the expected temperatures (weather conditions) while the shipment is in the mail; the types of vehicles on which the shipment is to be transported; the expected transit time; and the types of packaging used for protection against suffocation, crushing, and handling.
9.3.1 Prohibition on Animals Intended for Use in an Animal Fighting Venture
An animal is nonmailable if such animal is being mailed for the purpose of having it participate in an animal fighting venture (7 U.S.C. 2156). This standard applies regardless of whether such venture is permitted under the laws of the state in which it is conducted. Violators can be subject to the criminal penalties in 18 U.S.C. 49. See 12.20 for the prohibition on mailing sharp instruments intended for use in an animal fighting venture and 13.5.7 for restrictions on mailing written, printed, or graphic matter related to animal fighting ventures. For this standard:
a. the term animal means any live bird, or any live mammal (e.g., dog), except human;
b. the term animal fighting venture means any event, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, that involves a fight conducted or to be conducted between at least two animals for purposes of sport, wagering, or entertainment (excluding any activity whose primary purpose involves using one or more animals in hunting other animals); and
c. the term state means any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any U.S. territory or possession.
9.3.2 Day-Old Poultry
Day-old poultry vaccinated with Newcastle disease (live virus) is nonmailable. Live day-old chickens, ducks, emus, geese, guinea fowl, partridges, pheasants (pheasants may be mailed only from April through August), quail, and turkeys are acceptable in the mail only if:
a. They are not more than 24 hours old and are presented for mailing in the original unopened hatchery box from the hatchery of origin.
b. The date and hour of hatching is noted on the box by a representative of the hatchery who has personal knowledge thereof. (For COD shipments made by a hatchery for the account of others, the name or initials and address of the hatchery or the Post Office box number and address of the hatchery must be prominently shown for this standard.)
c. The box is properly ventilated, of proper construction and strength to bear safe transmission in the mail, and not stacked more than 10 units high.
d. They are mailed early enough in the week to avoid receipt at the office of address, in case of missed connections, on a Sunday, on a national holiday, or on the afternoon before a Sunday or holiday.
e. They can be delivered to the addressee within 72 hours of the time of hatching, whether the addressee resides in town or on a rural route or highway contract route.
f. The shipment bears special handling postage in addition to regular postage, unless sent at the First-Class Mail or Priority Mail prices.
g. When live, day-old poultry is to be transported by aircraft, all provisions of the airline tariffs are met and air carriers have equipment available to safely deliver shipments within the specified time limits, allowing for delays en route in air and ground transportation.
h. Day-old poultry, originally shipped by air express or air cargo and then presented for mailing, must be in good condition and prepared as specified in 9.3.2a. through 9.3.2e.
i. Boxes of day-old poultry of about identical size, securely fastened together to prevent separation in transit, may be accepted for mailing as a single parcel, if such parcel is not more than 100 inches in length and girth combined.
9.3.4 Adult Birds
[9-3-13] Disease-free adult birds, weighing no more than 25 pounds, may be mailed domestically. Mailers must comply with all applicable governmental laws and regulations, including the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and any state, municipal or local ordinances. Mailings must also be compliant with the guidelines provided in USPS Publication 14, Prohibitions and Restrictions on Mailing Animals, Plants, and Related Matter, Chapter 5. In addition, each container or package must be marked as required by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under 50 CFR 14.
Adult birds are mailable as follows:
a. The mailer must send adult birds by Priority Mail Express in approved, secure containers.
b. The number of birds per parcel must follow the container manufacturer limits and each bird must weigh more than 6 ounces.
c. A mailing container must be used that is constructed by a USPS-approved manufacturer.
d. Indemnity may be paid only for articles that are lost, damaged, or missing contents, and not for death of the birds in transit if there is no visible damage to the mailing container.
e. Postage refunds may not be available if the Priority Mail Express shipment was delivered or delivery was attempted within three days of the date of mailing as shown in the “Date In” box on Label 11.
The Postal Service's Traffic Control System is used to advise
destination and transfer offices when any significant quantities of animals
are moving through the mail. Postal field personnel should ensure that the duration
of ground transportation (via trucks) is limited to a four-hour time period.
Any mailpiece identified as containing live birds must be handled
with care and sensitivity by postal employees.
Instructions for USPS Postmasters
Mailing Live Animals
Any office shipping live animals must call the District Expedited
Services Office (ESO), which coordinates and clears such shipments. The ESO will tell you where to drop off your "live" shipment and notify the
The availability of a drop-off site may vary depending on
transportation or the retail site's ability to handle large volumes. The ESO
tries to make acceptance points for live animal shipments widely available
and ensure protection of the lives while in the postal system.
With the September 25, 2006 inception of live animal mail
transport on the FedEx Network, the number of retail outlets available for
live animal acceptance increased significantly. Transportation on commercial
carriers continues to be available.
Special Handling Service is for unusual items that need to be handled specially through the mail – like live poultry and bees. For these items, Special Handling is required. Your package will receive preferential handling to the extent that it’s practical in dispatch and transportation.
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