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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » Animal Lover (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

NJJ
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I LOVE animals and I LOVE my rabbit, Lou.

Yet I get the feeling a lot of magicians treat their animals like props and not like the pets and companions that they are.

I've seen many magicians treat their animals very poorly and it makes me sad.

I'd love to see a voluntary code of conduct for magicians by one of the larger bodies (IBM etc.) Perhaps also a little seal on magician's websites or business card saying "IBM Approved Animal Magician". If clients see one magician with the seal and another without, the GOOD magicians will get more work.
Dave Scribner
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Interesting idea but who would govern the legitimacy of the seal, what would the criteria be for being approved and how would it be enforced after the seal was given?

As a self proclaimed approved animal lover and Dove worker, I'd be all for something like this but how many IBM or SAM members carrying their cards with the member pledge on them and haven't even read it. I think the same would be true for this type of approval. It would be a formality and anyone wishing the seal would get it whether it were true or not.
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Rupert Bair
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I agree Nick, Their are many performers that I think are very cruel. However if you had this seal (where would you keep it? They can grow quite big.) I suppose they would have to do a sort of audition but then the cruel performers would of course be very nice to their animals when showing to a magic organization. Maybe the RSPCA should do it insted. They could test you.
Matt
Al Kazam the Magic Man
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Hi there,

Very interested in this topic. Is it ok to ask what types of experiences you've seen that make you come to this conclusion about magicians? When words like cruel are used, it's hard to imagine what has happened to the animals in our shows.
I don't have much experience with other magicians, due to where I live. One magician here uses a small dove pan to produce a small rabbit. He recently told me he buys a new rabbit every month or two as they get too big to fit into the pan.

JoJo
Al Kazam --> Magic guy in Perth Australia
Dave Scribner
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I've seen magicians try to use an animal, (ususally dove or rabbit) that is too large for a prop but for the most part in my experience it's more of a care issue. Too many new performers just get the dove, put it in a cage and that's it. They forget about prestine cage cleaning and health issues. Cages are often too small. The animals are treated like another prop rather than small creature assistants. In my opinion, that's where the cruelty is.
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Rupert Bair
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I know someone that puts two rabbits into a small tip over box then must really put the rabbits into shock being turned over so fast. I have seen a lot of magicians with very poorly looked after animals. It's just not fair.

MATT
Dave Scribner
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Actually Matt, the animal never moves in a tip over box. They are in the same position when the box flips as when they are put into it. I know what you mean though. Some performers would care what the animal went through. Two rabbits might be a little cramped anyway.
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NJJ
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Aside from cramp animals I've seen doves loosing piles of feathers after being produced, I've seen someone set fire to a duck and I've even seen a magician throw his rabbit in a his suitcase, close it and walk off stage, flipping case as he did.
Rupert Bair
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Mine must be different the load spins and then drops fast. Setting fire to a duck Smile
matt
JustinDavid
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It's absolutely horrible the way some people, not just magicians, treat their animals. I get nervous when I steal EVERYTIME, even though I know there is no way they could get hurt (I take every extra measure possible), it's still nerve racking. I couldn't live with myself If I hurt one of my assistants. Once I bent over (I was a rookie okay... lol) and one came tumbling out in its holder.. and flipped on its back. He was fine, but I thought he was dead. I almost didn't want to look. Luckily I was just practicing and learned the hard way not to bend over. Everything is an experience, but if you don't learn from it then it becomes a problem.

Best wishes,
Justin
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Bob Johnston
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I use a MAK Bunny Box with my Dutch Rabbit. The box is “technically” large enough to hold her.

However, since she is in there for two or three minutes before she is presented, I had the box enlarged by a good carpenter at a cost of (more than the original box cost.)

I considered it a proper alteration for an animal that give so much joy to so many children.

Bob
JJDrew
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I had the misfortune a couple weeks ago to witness this carelessness towards animals first hand. I'd read about such things here, but I'd never actually met a magician who treated their animals poorly.

I went to see a show which opened with the production of three doves. Two of them behaved, but the third flew out over the audience, perched on a catwalk, and watched the rest of the show from up there.

No problem right? Wrong.

After the show, people were hanging around talking and the magician came out to try and get his bird down. Now there are two ways he could have accomplished this easily: 1) Shoo everyone out and turn all the lights off except for one near the floor. The dove would fly towards the light. 2) Put down food someplace visible, maybe with the other doves eating, and wait.

The magician came out, looked up at his bird, and said, "He he, anybody got a rifle?" OK, so he was joking, it was still in poor taste. Then, more seriously, he contemplated leaving it there since "he had a spare." This despite the fact that there were a number of magicians in the audience who reccommended the light method, and a number of laymen who reccommended the food method.

Somehow, somebody got ahold of a tennis ball and decided to throw it at the roof (which was made of metal) and see if the noise would scare the dove down. That didn't work. Then they decided to see if they could throw the ball so that it went near the dove and scared it down. That didn't work. Then they decided to throw the ball so that it BRUSHED the dove and scared it down. All the time this was going on, did the magician do anything to stop them? No, he ENCOURAGED it! Of course people aren't perfect shots, and the dove got hit squarely with the ball. Did it come down? Heck no! Would you fly down to a group of psychos that were throwing stuff at you? Finally the ball got stuck up there too. The dove still hadn't come down, and it was at THAT point that the magician made the comment about leaving it because he had a spare.

For other reasons, I was throughly disgusted with this particular performer before the show was over, but if I hadn't been, that would have done it.

If anybody had tried to throw stuff at my parrot, I would have kicked their behinds across the state and back. He laughed and joined in. What a jerk!

I have to admit I was shocked. As I said, I had heard of such things, but never had the misfortune to witness them first hand.
zaubern
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Wow, reading that reminds me of when I had a dove fly to a bar at the top of the theatre BEFORE the show. Lucky it was a small theatre and I was able to get a ladder and retrieve him safely in time for the performance. I don't know what I would do if someone took it upon themselves to start throwing things at my bird. Would you do that to a human being? Of course not! An animal is a living breathing creature and should be treated as such. Treat your animals with the care they deserve. Someone that careless has no point having animals.
Zaubern Smile
Bob Sanders
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Sometimes I wish animals got a shot at taking over and doing magic with humans! Many people could take a lesson.

Do no harm!

Bob
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Bob Sanders

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Luke Sherratt
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Well I can tell you that as soon as I get my doves I will make sure to treat them with respect and of course love them as in my book if you want to use doves in magic it being a pet must come first then it being in your show second. I once saw possibly the worst thing I have ever seen, a magician produced one of his dove sat it on his perch it jumped down and started running about the stage the a%%hole picked it up flicked with his finger right on the head and put it down, it jumped off again he hit again then it jumped a third time and he hit it really hard it looked really sick and looked all dizzy then suddenly he fell of his perch dead. The guy was told to go and never to come back it was one of the worst things I have ever seen done to an animal. Very sad that people treat animals with the "Oh I can get another one" attitude. Well not me.

Luke
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