Regulation of the Day Update: Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat

Not too long ago, I told Marty Hahne’s story. He is a long-time children’s magician who got in trouble with the USDA for using an unlicensed rabbit in his shows. Among other things, he also had to give the agency proof that he was making regular vet visits, and submit to random inspections of his home. The topper was that he had to submit a 28-page disaster plan covering how he would care for his rabbit under at least 21 different calamities.

The publicity surrounding the story caused a bit of a blow to the USDA’s self-esteem. In today’s Federal Register, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that it is temporarily suspending the relevant regulations. It is doing this “in order that we may undertake a review of their requirements.”

Time will tell what comes out of this review, but hopefully magicians won’t have to apply for federal license if they want to pull a rabbit out of a hat.