Marty the Magician may be able to make a rabbit appear from his hat but he might want to start practicing making it disappear. The magician recently received a letter from the Agriculture Department beginning “Dear Members of Our Regulated Community . . .” It was about his rabbit.
Marty Hahne, 54, does magic shows for kids in southern Missouri and performs the classic rabbit trick. However, the U.S. government insists that he needs a license for the rabbit under a provision written for zoos and circuses. As a covered person, he needs a rabbit disaster plan to handle fire, floods, air conditioning outages etc. Magic is apparently not enough.
After the Washington Post ran a story, the Agricultural Department Secretary Tom Vilsack said he would review the policy.
Hahne said that, after a show at a library in Monett, an official stepped out of the crowd, flashed a badge, and demanded “Show me your license.” When he innocently asked for what, the USDA inspector said “For your rabbit.” She hit him with a violation and said that, unless he got a license, the Agricultural Department would make the rabbit disappear.
Hahne has an official USDA license, No. 43-C-0269, for Casey — a three-pound Netherland dwarf rabbit. He has met the requirement of paying $40 a year, taking Casey to the vet and allowing surprise inspections to his home. However, the inspector insisted that she wanted to see long itinerary forms filled out for out-of-town trips and contingency plans. Ironically, all he has to do is periodically eat his rabbits. If you raise them for food, these provisions to do apply. However, he likes Casey and does not want to solve his problems with a Casey casserole.
Another weird twist is that he would not have to fill out these forms if he simply pulled a lizard from this hat. The regulations only apply to warm-blooded animals.
So he is required to complete a non-magical disaster plan and other forms if Casey is to remain in his show. Believe it or not.
By the way, here is Marty in his show:
Source: Washington Post