International Postal Regulations
Mail delivery between countries is governed by an agency of the United Nations called the Universal Postal Union. International postal rules are described in a document called the Universal Postal Convention. The Bloomington Stock Center and Laurie Tompkins of NIH worked with the U.S. Postal Service and Department of State to have the Universal Postal Convention amended at the 2004 Congress of the Universal Postal Union to allow the mailing of flies.
The Universal Postal Convention Letter Post Regulations now read:
Article 15. Items not admitted. Prohibitions
4.1. Live animals shall be prohibited in all categories of items.
4.2. Exceptionally, the following shall be admitted in letter-post items other than insured items:
4.2.1. bees, leeches and silk-worms;
4.2.2. parasites and destroyers of noxious insects intended for the control of those insects and exchanged between officially recognized institutions;
4.2.3. flies of the family Drosophilidae for biomedical research exchanged between officially recognized institutions.
These international rules are reflected in the U.S. Postal Service International Mail Manual, which says:
Section 138.1 Animals
All live or dead animals are nonmailable, except the following:
a. Live bees, leeches, silkworms, and flies of the family Drosophilidae