Feds ask man to get rid of rubber chicken
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times
June 1, 2004
By Tom Barnes
To magician Mike Norden, the early-morning call from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency two weeks ago seemed
more than a little strange.
Norden - who calls himself Norden the Magician - listened to an investigator from the CFIA prod him with a
litany of questions surrounding a prop he uses in his magic show.
In an interview Monday, the Maple Ridge magic man explained how the inspector from the federal government
agency tasked with putting a lid on the spread of the Avian Flu virus wanted to know about a chicken named Rufus.
Norden, 29, confirmed to the man on the other end of the line that yes, he does in fact use a chicken during
his magic act, and Rufus plays a key role in pulling off one of his biggest tricks.
"I thought he was phoning to book me. I thought 'Great, a big government agency show,'" Norden said from
his Albion home, admitting that steady work for Norden the Magician had been hard to come by.
He says the inspector then wanted to know if Norden and Rufus had been performing any gigs out of town
recently, along with more and more questions about his movements especially with Rufus.
"I thought this was weird, no one one had gone in-depth about my chicken before," he explained.
The caller he had logged on to his web site (www.magicshows.ca) and read that Rufus the chicken is in on
the magician's act.
Norden replied that he was aware of the Avian Flu chicken cull taking place in the Fraser Valley and he
had removed any reference of Rufus from his site.
"With the Avian flu thing around, I shouldn't really be pushing a chicken act," he said.
The inspector then asked what has become of Rufus.
He wanted to know because even though Norden wasn't touring with Rufus any longer the bird could still
fall under the backyard bird category, which meant that just like the millions of commercial birds that
have been killed in recent weeks, Rufus could be subject to the same fate.
Norden was told that there is currently a lot of misinformation circulating out there and backyard flocks
are not exempt from the kill order.
Norden said he's been keeping up to speed on the Avian Flu crisis and is aware of the rumours and
Norden then told the man from the government exactly what he needed to do to ensure Rufus would never be
taken away and sent to gas chamber.
Then Norden said: "Look, I know there is misunderstanding, let me tell you it's a rubber chicken I perform
There was a silence on the line, which was finally broken by the inspector.
"At that point he just said 'Oh' (and) kind of laughed," Norden said, adding that before the inspector hung
up he advised Norden to update his website to indicate that Rufus is not a live bird but one of the $5 standard
issue, novelty store variety.