Bureaucracy for Magicians

We're still not quite sure if it isn't perhaps a temporally misplaced April fools joke. However, if it isn't, then it provides incontrovertible proof that the bureaucratization of the US is beginning to reach the same absurd Kafkaesque heights that have become par for the course in most of Europe.

Judge for yourself: A magician by the name of 'Marty the Magician' recently had to get a license for his sole rabbit, who goes by the name of Casey. Yes, Casey is henceforth a licensed magician's rabbit, and therefore administratively rubber-stamped to surprisingly jump out of hats or suddenly appear in other assorted unlikely places.



RabbitMeet Casey, the licensed rabbit.

(Image ource unknown – The Web)




If that were all, there wouldn't be much to write about. After all, you would have had to be in a coma for the past two decades in order not to notice US licensing law creep. Today one needs a license for just about everything, no matter how strange the demand often appears. It is an opportunity to 1. shake people down and 2. to protect already 'arrived' businesses from upstart competition. That is how regulatory democracy works – it is essentially a protection racket.

We should probably best quote Marty the Magician himself on the matter (warning, first put the coffee down):




“I did a 10-minute bit at the start of my show last night talking about my rabbit situation,” the magician explained Thursday. “It was better than any magic trick I could ever pull off. People can’t believe the story.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires the rabbit to be licensed, which is weird enough, but where things enter the rabbit warren of the truly bizarre is a new USDA rule seven years in the making.

Marty must have a rabbit disaster “plan” in place by July 29, 2013, in case of calamity — “flooding,” “earthquake,” “landslide/mudslide/avalanche,” “wildfire,” “intentional attack,” to name a few examples.

“My country is broke,” Mr. Hahne says. “We are out of money, and now the government is spending time, and money, worrying about an emergency plan for a bunny rabbit.” Before there ever was a plan, or a need for one, there was the rabbit license. Charlie, Casey’s predecessor, was the backbone of Marty’s shtick when he was working the library circuit around Monett, Mo., in 2005.

“I was booked for the entire week to do 10 libraries,” Mr. Hahne says. “To promote the show, the library ran a picture of me holding a bunny rabbit. There was a United States Department of Agriculture inspector living in the town, and she came to my show.

“I didn’t even use Charlie in that particular show, but she busted me, anyway. I did the show. And moms always come up to thank me afterward, and kids come up to shake my hand. And this inspector barged through the crowd and stuck a badge in my face and asked to see my license.”

Marty was confused. He asked: License? What license? The inspector replied: For your rabbit.

Even bunnies, the one-rabbit magician soon learned, needed USDA approval, a process that involved filling out multiple forms and getting Charlie examined by a vet, an exercise in bureaucratic oversight that repeats itself annually for Mr. Hahne and his bunny of the day, at a cost of about US$100.

The 54-year-old is also subject to surprise annual inspections to ensure his USDA-approved rabbit, which shares the Hahne residence with Marty’s wife, Brenda, Sally, a chihuahua, and three cats named Dante, Tasha and Cindy, is properly housed. And now there is a new form to tangle with, and a comprehensive disaster plan to be written.


(emphasis added)

Busted for pulling a rabbit out of a hat without a license! Note the shakedown aspect: it costs $100 per year to keep Bugs Casey properly licensed.

However, the 'comprehensive disaster plan', that is positively hare-raising. It gets even better:


“Charlie, rest his rabbit soul, moved on to the great big magician’s top hat in the sky about two years ago, leaving Casey as the lone bunny requiring an action plan.

Kim Morgan specializes in writing emergency plans for federal agencies. Hearing of Marty the magician’s plight, she graciously volunteered her services, producing a 32-page document that, had Mr. Hahne been a paying customer, would have cost him about US$100.

(The condensed version: In event of evacuation Casey “will be afforded a room that is pet tamper proofed and allowed to exercise.”)

Meantime, Mr. Hahne was recently in contact with the USDA, asking questions, wondering why one man, with one rabbit, needs a plan when he claims he already has a plan for when disaster strikes.

“It is called common sense,” he says. “We live in Missouri. We have tornadoes here, so we have a safe room in our basement. I told the USDA supervisor that I spoke with that, if there is a tornado, my 12-year-old chihuahua — she’s our baby — is first in, then the cats and, if there is time, the rabbit.

“We’d all go in the safe room. But the supervisor told me that the rabbit, being the only licensed animal, is the most important in their eyes.”


(emphasis added)

So it appears that the next shakedown – the bizarre 'disaster plan' for the rabbit – is tied to the first one, namely that it got armed with a license. Since it now has a license, the bureaucrats immediately deem it the 'most important animal' in Marty's immediate vicinity, hence it requires a 'disaster plan'. And not just any old disaster plan, but a 32 page document!

You couldn't make this up.

We must repeat that we are not entirely sure if this isn't a mislaid April fools joke that has found its way into print in July by mistake. If it is really true, then it only appears to be funny.  In reality it is a sad testament to where the bureaucratization of a country eventually leads.



magicianhatNotice the shifty stare? Typical undocumented & unlicensed rabbit.

(Image ource unknown – The Web)



verilyMore unlicensed trickery involving magic rabbits. 

(Image ource unknown – The Web)





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2 Responses to “The Rabbit Disaster Plan”

  • RedQueenRace:

    If the government classifies the magician as an “Animal Exhibitor” then this is not a spoof.

    USDA licensing requirements for “Animal Exhibitors.”


    There is a specific section for “Animal Exhibitors.”

    Next up is the disaster plan.

    “Animal Welfare Act Contingency Regulation: APHIS published a final rule requiring all dealers, exhibitors, intermediate handlers, carriers, research facilities and other entities regulated by the Agency under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to take additional steps to be better prepared for potential disaster situations. They are required to develop a plan for how they are going to respond to and recover from emergencies most likely to happen to their facility, as well as train their employees on those plans. These emergency plans are also referred to as “contingency plans.”

    The above plus more at


  • worldend666:

    >> Since it now has a license, the bureaucrats immediately deem it the ‘most important animal’ in Marty’s immediate vicinity

    Not only animals. It’s not necessary to make a disaster plan for your wife and kinds :)

  • Maybe we can find a place in the universe they don’t have governments. You stated the famous phrase, you can’t make this stuff up. Well the US government somehow did. It is about time to tell these thieves to go to hell.

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