Magician’s Rabbit Gets Tangled in Government Red Tape

Animals deserve protection just like their human friends, but one well-meaning regulation may have taken things too far

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Marty Hahne
Marty Hahne

Sometimes a well-intentioned new federal policy has unexpected consequences. Take the new measures enacted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) after Hurricane Sandy, which now require anyone who works with animals to have a clear evacuation plan going forward. After thousands of lab animals died following the disaster, the agency drew up the new laws to help avoid similar crises. One person affected by the policy is magician Marty Hahne, who employs a rabbit in his act. Now Hahne, better known as Marty the Magician, and his rabbit Casey have become unlikely symbols in the fight against unnecessary red tape.

As reported in the Washington Post, Hahne, who is based in Springfield, Missouri, pulls his doleful Netherland dwarf rabbit out of a prop as his show’s grand finale. In order to own an animal for performance, Hahne must have a license. The strings attached to the official USDA license are delineated over 14 pages and include surprise visits to his home, submitting an itinerary to the USDA for extended trips and regular visits to the vet. Now, he also falls under the new USDA regulation for emergency preparedness. Fires, ice storms, floods, loss of air conditioning — he must detail his plan for keeping Casey safe.

Although the new regulations ensure the well-being of animals when they are held in large quantities, such as in the case of lab facilities, some of Hahne’s colleagues are having trouble taking the regulation seriously when it extends to their miniscule-scale performances. One magician quipped to the Post that he planned to deliver a terse plan to the USDA — “‘Note: Take rabbit with you when you leave’ ”. Hahne has obtained professional help to draft the plans.  So far, they’re 28 pages long.

Soon after the Post story was published online Tuesday evening, the USDA announced it would immediately review its requirement for single-animal disaster plans. Though the department claimed it had ordered a review of the regulation earlier in the week, it had been defending the requirement earlier the same day.

Perhaps all it takes to cut down on red tape in the Beltway is a three-pound rabbit and a bit of magic.

3 comments
WilliamRN
WilliamRN

Persons or agencies which are responsible for housing of large amounts of animals do need disaster plans in place for caring for these animals.  Anything less is irresponsible.  This would be know different than if one manages a nursing home.  The responsible party must always have backup plans for times of disaster.  As far as an individual animal owner their job is to see for the care received by the animal in good times and bad times.  If this is not possible the person should not own an animal.  The same goes for aunt Bessie, don't let her live in your home unless you are willing to take responsibility for her. Planning doesn't have to be intricate.  It requires a few emergency contact numbers and addresses, having extra food and waster for any extra mouths in the family and staying at least 3 days ahead on all medication required daily to maintain life.  People need to take responsibility for themselves. their loved ones and the animals they own.  Govt. will never have the ability to do this efficiently. There will be either mounds of regulations ti detailed to understand or complicated processes that only an engineer can read and understand. Planning for  hiccups that occur in life is a necessary part of growing up and becoming responsible for one's own life.


MarilynKnappLitt
MarilynKnappLitt

Yet, it is OK to not provide any accommodation for hundreds of animals belonging to people who are evacuating.  Federal law requires a municipality to consider pets while preparing evacuation plans or risk losing FEMA funds.  The word "consider" means just that.  You can consider and decide not to implement and you will not lose funds and animals will have nowhere to go, causing people to remain in harms way rather than leave animals behind. 

NaveedXVO
NaveedXVO

More authoritarianism, yay rah. Thanks again bleeding hearts.