Nearly 5,000 dead chicks have arrived at Maine farms because of a recent series of cuts to the U.S. Postal Service, according to congresswoman Chellie Pingree.
Pingree, a Democratic representative from Maine, raised the issue and the losses farmers are facing in a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and U.S. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sonny Perdue, The Portland Press Herald reported.
Pauline Henderson, the owner of Pine Tree Poultry in New Sharon said she was stunned when all 800 chicks she had ordered from a Pennsylvania hatchery arrived dead last week.
“Usually they arrive every three weeks like clockwork,” she told the paper. “And out of 100 birds you may have one or two that die in shipping.”
Some animals are allowed to be mailed via the Postal Service, under certain safety conditions. Steve Doherty, a USPS spokesman the service “can’t locate a claim being filed for this loss.”
Pingree said her congressional office has received dozens of complaints from residents who grow chickens.
“It’s one more of the consequences of this disorganization, this sort of chaos they’ve created at the post office and nobody thought through when they were thinking of slowing down the mail,” she said.
“This is a system that’s always worked before and it’s worked very well until these changes started being made,” Pingree said.
Postmaster DeJoy, a major Trump donor who is the first person outside the agency to head the sprawling system, initiated severe cutbacks in the postal system since assuming power in June.
After postal boxes and mail trucks began disappearing from sites across the country, DeJoy announced Wednesday he would suspend the cutbacks until after the November election.
Trump, who continually claims without evidence that mail-in voting would cause massive fraud, has been accused of trying to rig the election in his favor.
DeJoy is scheduled to testify before the Senate on Friday in an unusual, emergency session to address his actions and their possible impact on millions of Americans who plan to vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.