Rabbit fines, or why we’re following the stupid pig law

So after writing about the Missouri Department of Ag’s determination that fresh vegetables are dangerous, illegal feed for saleable pigs, I’ve had a number of people ask why we even asked, or why we just don’t do it anyway, under the table. This is why (from the Springfield News-Leader):

A federal agency that wanted a Nixa man to pay a $90,643 penalty based on accusations that he sold rabbits and guinea pigs without a license said it is trying to work something out after U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill intervened.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which issues the licenses, had told John Dollarhite to pay the penalty by May 23 or face possible litigation. Civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation could exceed the penalty he already faced…

The proposed settlement said Dollarhite sold 619 animals in 2008-09, despite being told several times that he needed a license. Dollarhite’s business, now closed, was called Dollarvalue Rabbitry.
Dollarhite said he didn’t know he needed to be licensed and that the penalty is not appropriate. He said the business made about $200 in profit from April 2008 to December 2009 from selling rabbits for $10 or $12 apiece.

So maybe this guy is a doofus, or was trying to skirt the rules. He may not be blameless. But McCaskill is exactly right that “They have much better things to do with their time than go after families that have sold some rabbits for pets”. Or to go after farms feeding vegetables to pigs. We’re not doing the for-sale pigs because I don’t want the state or Federal bureaucracy slapping us with this kind of ridiculous fine and life-long ban for an obscure rules violation. It’s not worth it. And that’s the kind of rural small-business entrepreneurship that stupid regulation stifles.

2 thoughts on “Rabbit fines, or why we’re following the stupid pig law

  1. This is exactly I raise meat chickens for my family ONLY. I don't sell them, not even to friends. Technically, on farm sales direct to consumers are okay. But the way the goons are pursuing small businesses (that are already barely turning a profit) is like swatting a fly with a wrecking ball. So we have chickens and turkeys and they taste really, really good. But I don't sell them.

  2. Couldn't agree more. There are times we wonder why anyone would want to be in business as a small farm; there's a lot of liability risk here that isn't taken into account by most folks. Also one of the reasons we focus so heavily on home food production instead of growing more vegetables so we can buy all the rest of the food.