19 November 1999
Amtrak puts off chick ban

By FWi staff

COURIER company Amtrak has agreed to delay for one month its surprise decision to stop carrying day-old chicks.

This followed protests from producers that birds planned for December could be gassed unless transport was found.

The sudden statement from Amtrak announcing it was discontinuing its service from 1 December had shocked poultry breeders and hatcheries.

They were given only two weeks notice.

Amtrak says operational and legislative concerns prompted it to withdraw from carrying day-old chicks.

But speaking on Radio 4s Farming Today, Amtrak managing director Will Odling MD Amtrak offered a reprieve until 1 January.

“We have listened to feedback and understand there are chicks currently in incubation which would be out for delivery in December. So weve said were happy to extend the service to January.”

He added: “Were obviously very committed to our customers needs, but we do have to be sensitive to the welfare of the animals.

“There are a lot of species we just dont think we can carry any more.”

Mr Odling said Amtrak would continue to carry pigeons as it packages them itself.

He said chicks were sometimes badly packaged.

“We do experience livestock coming in with completely inappropriate packaging, in fact sometimes we dont even know we are carrying livestock.”

Mr Odling said the company had experienced a high mortality rate associated with extreme temperatures in a shipment on day-old chicks.

Mr Odling said Amtrakhad been pursuing a meeting with MAFF since August and hoped to see officials next week. The company hoped to have more information for producers then.

Amtrak withdrew from carrying all poultry and waterfowl, except for day-olds, two years ago.