My name is Aaron Radatz. I’m a Las Vegas–based magician and vegan who travels the globe performing at casinos, theme parks, cruise lines, and corporate events. Like many of my colleagues, I found it to be an obvious step in the early part of my career to incorporate animals into my act—specifically, a tiger and gold fish.
However, as I progressed, I learned that it was completely unnecessary to put these animals through the rigors of travel and the daily grind of performing. My act is now 100 percent animal-free, and life is just grand.
The following is a list of suggestions for both performers and audience members:
- Donate your talent: I regularly use my show as a platform to help raise money for different organizations that rescue or care for animals. This is a great platform for any artist. It requires a small amount of your time, helps animals, and generally gains you local media coverage at a minimum. Rescue groups, animal shelters, and various animal welfare organizations continually hold events and are always looking for entertainment.
- Substitute robotic animals: I personally found no loss of business as a result of no longer using animals in my act. There is one illusion that I perform in which I turn goldfish crackers into live goldfish, and I wanted to keep this feature. The solution? Robotic fish! They’re also a great option for compassionate families who know that buying “pet” fish is just sad.
- Attend animal-free shows: In addition to animal-free magic performances, there are other great family-entertainment shows that are constantly on tour and do not use animals: Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, Disney on Ice, and Circus Vargas, to name just a few.
- DO try this at home: You may find that training your dog (or even your cat!) can keep him or her active and happy. Mental stimulation is something that every companion animal needs, so if you’re thinking of adopting furry friends or already have some, set aside plenty of time to challenge their minds with some fun brain training. Make sure to use positive reinforcement—i.e., treats, scratches, and toys!
As with most things in life, you lead by example. My main reason for conveying this message is to inspire magicians and other performers to look beyond tradition and preconceptions. Express yourself in a unique way and without cruelty to animals. Ditch the top hat, tuxedo, doves, and rabbits—and EVOLVE!
Hopefully, this piece will give you some food for thought and open new doors to a wonderful magical world.
For more information, please check out AaronRadatz.com.