U.S. Agriculture Department: Marty The Magician Must Submit Disaster Plan And Other Paperwork for Casey The Rabbit

170px-Zan_Zig_performing_with_rabbit_and_roses,_magician_poster,_1899-2Marty 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

31 thoughts on “U.S. Agriculture Department: Marty The Magician Must Submit Disaster Plan And Other Paperwork for Casey The Rabbit

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  4. Gene, man, I garbled that! SB: “I still think that the story is, or will be used as propaganda.”

  5. We should get magicians to use wolves, and maybe then they could get the protections back in place for that species

  6. bigfatmike, I agree that overbroad regulations are a problem and lawmakers need to address what I consider sloppy language and framing. I also agree that publicity does and has in this case helped correct the problem for at least this one person.

    I found 3 recent stories about this plan (the regulation is not adopted yet) in the MSM:

    1 on HuffPo that was an editorial by Alfred V. Almanza, Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service that was totally devoid of details of the new plan and ‘misstated’ study data to indicate that the results of the test phase demonstrated that the current method under consideration led to a product that was actually better than the current inspection method.

    The LATimes did an article in its Business Section that quoted extensively from Mr. Almanza and reported that this would be a good thing (more profit) for the business and

    another story from the LATimes that was more on point regarding the details of the plan and consumer advocacy fears. That article was interrupted by a very long paragraph restating the favorable spin Mr. Almanza put on it and touting the original Business Section article.

    I’m going to make a note of the magician story because I suspect I’ll see it spread around a bit more than on 3 MSM venues (and only one of those stories were unfavorable) and I also expect that this story will become one of those apocryphal tales talked about by the de-regulation right.

    I still think as as story it is, or will be used, as propaganda but we do have points of agreement regarding the situation that gave rise to the story. You bring up good points and I appreciate you having reinforced the virtue of the publicity in the magicians story.

    • ” expect that this story will become one of those apocryphal tales talked about by the de-regulation right.”

      Anyone want to bet how many minutes Limbaugh devotes to this story on his program – just kidding, just kidding.

      Good point. I am sure this story will be exploited and has the potential to do far more damage than good.

      Even though I sometimes criticize over regulation I like some regulation of food processing, nuclear power plants, and lots of other things.

      Heck, I can remember being able to pan fry a steak without producing enough liquid to nearly make soup. I wonder if cows have really changed that much.

  7. “This kind of story is just another propaganda piece, embraced by the MSM that makes the regulatory process a laughingstock”

    I don’t think I can agree that this is just a propaganda piece. I might agree that there are higher priorities. I might agree that the real problem lies elsewhere, perhaps with legislators who want to undermine government regulation.

    But if one cares about appropriate regulation I think you have to be concerned about this kind of intrusion as well.

    MSM didn’t make this up. And if what I heard is accurate, it was msm that helped correct the situation by generating so much attention that agency heads decide that common sense should be used. Imagine that, government regulators using common sense!

    What most of us want is enough regulation to keep us safe but not so much that it intrudes unreasonably into our lives. It is not easy to find the proper ratio to achieve that balance. But we will never find it if we ignore the fact that there are real problems with both over regulation and under regulation.

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