There’s no good way to deliver this disturbing bit of news except to come right out with it: Marty the Magician and others in the business of pulling a rabbit from a hat are under strict orders from the federal government to develop a “contingency plan” for handling their critters in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
And, no, a recipe for Hasenpfeffer won’t suffice.
Said plan will be evaluated once a year, when enforcers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) make their annual unannounced bunny home inspections. Oh, and all magicians are required to carry a copy of the contingency plan at all times and make it available for inspection while in “travel status.” After all, animal owners might want to consult the rabbit-rescue protocol amid the chaos of saving their families from a deadly hurricane or tornado.
With the July 29 compliance deadline looming, the USDA recently sent Marty the Magician (aka Marty Hahne of Springfield, Missouri) an eight-page communiqué detailing requirements for the plan, which must:
- Identify common emergencies most likely to occur,
- Outline specific tasks required to be carried out in response to each of the identified emergencies,
- Identify a chain of command and who (by name or by position title) will be responsible for fulfilling these tasks, and
- Address how response and recovery will be handled in terms of materials, resources, and training needs.