UnNews:Snakes Banned From Carry-On Luggage on Planes
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14 August 2006
NEW YORK, NY -- The US Federal Aviation Administration issued new, tighter restrictions for carry-on luggage today, including a highly controversial ban on all snakes. The new rules were announced in light of last week's foiled British terrorist plot and worries about future attacks.
All sharp objects, gels, gatling guns, drinks, and certain electronics were forbidden from being carried on board long ago by many governments, but the move to ban snakes is unprecedented. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, speaking at an afternoon press conference, said "We apologize for the inconvenience this decision will cause to travelers, but I hope both people and reptiles will understand that it is necessary for us to err on the side of caution." Most agree with the ban, but the American Civil Liberties Union says it goes "too far" and vowed to sue for passengers' rights in court.
Up until now, only oversized boa constrictors and certain endangered species of snakes were barred from carry-on luggage. But with the new rules, even the smallest of the reptiles have to be checked in. Little Timmy cried at JFK's domestic terminal earlier today when security made him part with his pet rattlesnake "Georgie." His mother called it an "outrage," but the TSA officers explained that the new laws were "inflexible" and there was "zero tolerance" for violations.
Long lines formed at terminals all across the nation as angered travelers were forced to remove snakes from their handbags. Many fear that their prized pets will get damaged or lost by the baggage handlers. But a spokesman for South Pacific Airlines assured passengers that "The carrier is doing its best to cope with the situation," and that the company hired additional veterinarians to properly take care of the snakes during travel.
For reasons of national security, authorities refused to disclose any specific intelligence chatter that was intercepted regarding snakes, but an anonymous official at the FAA revealed there are rumors about a terrorist plot that could take place "around 10pm Eastern Standard Time on August 17th." While even the White House acknowledges that most snakes are harmless and provide joy to millions of Americans on a daily basis, press secretary Tony Snow claimed that "we just can't take our chances on this one - who knows what evil schemes terrorists could have for using snakes on planes."
Along with the new snake ban, law enforcement officials said they've also beefed up the ranks of both Federal Air Marshals and Air Zoologists. "These professionals are trained to deal with any animal-related emergencies," assured FEMA director David Paulison. However, critics point out that most of the agency's zoologists are educated to handle mammals, not reptiles. "This goes back to the Cold War era, where most of the threats had to do with Soviet bears and Chinese monkeys. Snakes were never a problem before," explained skeptic Ace Ventura from the Cobra Institute think tank.
To help spread the message about the new ban and the reasons it was implemented, the government hired renowned actor Samuel L. Jackson for its publicity campaign. Mr. Jackson appears in a television ad where he encourages viewers to "Get those motherf#@$ing snakes off your motherf#@$ing carry-on luggage."