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USPS Adjusts Service for Animal Transport

The U.S. Postal Service has adjusted the service it provides for the transportation of live animals in response to new Federal Aviation Administration restrictions resulting from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Service for live animals for which postage is more than $3.50 and those that require air transportation can be accepted only through postal facilities at airports — such as airmail centers or airmail facilities — and transportation will be on commercial cargo air carriers. Animals in these categories include day-old poultry, adult poultry and queen honeybees.

This service will be available to and from airports in Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Charlotte, NC; Dallas; Denver; El Paso, TX; Houston; Huntsville, AL; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, OR; and Seattle.

The USPS continues to accept live animals that do not require delivery within 72 hours — such as earthworms, lizards, snails, crickets, grasshoppers and bees — and that can move via ground transportation. Also, the USPS continues to accept live animals for which postage is $3.50 or less for shipments using commercial passenger airlines.

Meanwhile, a House-Senate conference is examining a bill that would require any USPS carrier to accept and transmit shipments of day-old poultry and other live animals as mail matter. The amendment was submitted by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND, and originally sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, and Russell Feingold, D-WI, all of whom represent farming states.

Last month, mail-order hatcheries became concerned when they learned that the USPS' new shared transportation network partner, FedEx Corp., and a major airline that hauls mail are refusing to handle small animals.

In other postal matters, the Senate approved H.R. 2590, which sets appropriations for the Treasury Department, the USPS, the president's office and independent agencies for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2002.

The bill also appropriates $29 million to the postal service fund for revenue forgone on free and reduced-rate mail. It also says mail for overseas voting and mail for the blind should remain free; that six-day delivery and rural delivery of mail will continue at not less than the 1983 level; and that none of the funds provided in the act can be used to consolidate or close small post offices in fiscal year 2002.

The USPS is asking Congress for a supplemental appropriation of $957 million in FY 2002, instead of the current increments of $29 million annually over 42 years.

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