Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thou Shalt Not

Thou Shalt Not try to mail the following items through the Diplomatic Pouch:

• Aerosols
• Alcoholic beverages
• Ammunition
• Animals, endangered species products
• Any items for resale
• Items procured for official use, unless funding has been provided to
A/LM/PMP/DPM in advance to pay pouch transportation costs.
See 5 FAH 10 H-511g for further guidance
• Charitable donations of goods
• Controlled or illegal substances to be used without a prescription
• Corrosives
• Currency (cash)
• Explosives
• Firearms including air rifles/pistols and objects resembling weapons or
dangerous objects
• Flammable type films
• Glass containers
• A total of more than 16 ounces of liquid in non-glass container(s) in a single
• Incendiary materials such as road flares, cigarette lighters, self starting
charcoal, etc.
• Magnetic materials such as powerful magnets that can damage computer
software and other electrical equipment
• Narcotics
• Personal professional books and materials intended to be used for a
private business; this does not include small quantities of professional
books or materials for official use and material received from attending
FSI or similar type training courses.
• Plants, seeds, bulbs
• Poisons
• Radioactive substances.
Most of these items I don't have an issue with. Keep me away from the radioactive substances, thanks.
But. But but but. I have a bone to pick with the powers-that-be about the 4th item down: Animals, endangered species products. No, I'm not planning on shipping any tiger skins or rare butterfly wings. What I do have are kids who have implored their mom to do some biology topics this summer. Namely, dissecting animals. Having a bachelor's of science degree in biology myself, I'm happy to oblige. What I'm not keen on is finding our own local specimens. I can do fish, that wouldn't be hard. But frogs? Crayfish? Really long annelids? Even if I could find them here, would I want the kids picking them apart in their freshly caught goriness (goriness? goryness?) in my house?
Instead, I found Carolina and went shopping. I know the regs don't allow live creatures. I know that perishable items are forbidden (and for good reason). But the kit I wanted included cleaned, preserved and sealed creatures: not alive and definitely not endangered.
So, I tried. I placed the order for 2 Young Scientist Animal Dissection Kits, and 2 additional sets of animals (4 kids = 4 of everything, especially something this cool).
Well, no shock to anyone really, my order was turned around at the Pouch facility. The box contained animals and all animals are not allowed, no matter their condition. Makes one wonder about items like dried fish snacks or chocolate covered grasshoppers. Frustrated I am. And I'm wondering how yucky the options from the local market really are.
We would still need supplies, even with local specimens, but don't anyone say I don't learn from my mistakes. Up there in that list, the 12th item down that starts with firearms? No, I'm not going to go out and shoot anything, but what about the second half regarding items resembling weapons?
Does a scalpel count as a potential weapon? Inquiring minds want to know. I'm waiting to hear back tomorrow.

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