Ridiculous Regs the Median Voter Doesn't Want
By Bryan Caplan
The median voter isn’t to blame for everything wrong with the world. Check this out: In Maryland, it’s illegal to massage a horse!
Mercedes took an eight-month equine massage course and hung up her shingle.
She said she so enjoyed massaging horses that she decided to do humans, too. She took a 600-hour course in human massage therapy and received certification. Her practice was evenly split between horses and humans. She charged the same for both: $85 for an hour-long massage, whether you have two legs or four.
And that’s when the problems started. In February, Mercedes received a letter from the Maryland Board of Chiropractic Examiners. The part that jumped out read: “YOU ARE TO IMMEDIATELY CEASE AND DESIST FROM THE PRACTICE OF MASSAGE OF HORSES AND ANY OTHER ANIMAL IN THE STATE OF MARYLAND.”
It’s tempting to say that someone’s trying to put his competition out of business. But the real story seems to be subtly different:
I asked James Vallone of the Maryland Board of Chiropractic Examiners what the deal was. “The state law says that neither chiropractors nor massage therapists working under the scope of their licenses may work on anybody or anything but the human anatomy,” he said. “You can’t work on animals, period.”
Why would a board in the pocket of chiropractors try to stop its members from branching out to other species? And what’s the point in completely banning a service? Where’s the money in it? All things considered, this seems more like regulators on a power trip than anything else.