The long arm of the Federal government has reached inside Marty Hahnes’ magic hat and pulled out a handful of bureaucratic idiocy.
Hahne performs magic shows for children in southern Missouri under the name of Marty the Magician. For his big finale he pulls a rabbit out of a hat — a time-honored magic trick with little risk to the rabbit, magician or audience.
In 2005, a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector cornered him after a show. She asked to see his license. “License for?” Hahne asked. “The rabbit,” was the reply.
To keep his rabbit in the magic act Hahne was told he had to purchase a $40 annual license, take the rabbit to the veterinarian and submit to surprise home inspections. And for a kicker, if Hahne planned to take the rabbit out of town for an extended period of time, he had to submit an itinerary to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His rabbit travels with him in a small cage adorned with USDA-mandated stickers, indicating which end is up.
But this year, the idiocy got worse. To keep his rabbit license, Hahne was told he had to submit a disaster plan covering what would happen with his rabbit in the event of every conceivable emergency: fire, flood, tornado, faulty air conditioning, ice storm, power failure.
Luckily for Hahne, a professional disaster plan writer heard about his plight and offered to write a plan for his rabbit. It must be completed by July 29. As of last week, it was 28 pages long and growing. But it was still short, considering what the USDA requested it include, according to Kim Morgan, the professional who volunteered to write the plan.
While Hahne, thanks to Morgan, is responding with a serious plan, some other magicians are responding to the requirement with all the seriousness it deserves. “I’ll take a piece of paper and put down, ‘Note: take rabbit with you when you leave.’ That’s my plan,” magician Gary Maurer said.
The original law requiring the licensing dates back to 1966 and applied to laboratories that used animals in research. But the paper-shufflers in Washington, D.C., and the psychopathic elected class expanded the law with amendments and regulations so that the original four-page law grew so that there are now 14 pages just for rabbits. It grew exponentially under George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina and now applies to all licensed exhibitors.
And you think you live in a free country?