Sell a few rabbits, earn $200 – Obama fines you $90,000

That’s right. I’m putting this right at the feet of the president himself. A family in Missouri has been fined more than $90,000 by the US Department of Agriculture for selling more than $500 of the furry creatures in less than one year. The families profit was a whopping $200 for the year.

If the president can answer a question during a prime-time news conference concerning his friend being arrested in Cambridge and outright stating the “police acted stupidly,” he should be willing to step up and state unequivocally that the US Department of Agriculture has acted stupidly.

Bob McCarty has the details at Big Government, who links to an original post with additional information at Bungalow Bill’s Conservative Wisdom.

Long story short. The family sold bunnies to individuals, petting zoos and pet shops within the state of Missouri. They started this venture as a learning experience for their son, and although they were selling bunnies for their meat at the beginning, it turned out it would be more profitable – and I use that term loosely – to sell them to petting zoos. At no time was there any suggestion the bunnies were not treated well.

Here comes the United States Department of Agriculture who started snooping around the family home and asking questions. The family states they asked investigators numerous times if there was a problem or some law they were not complying with. The family says inspectors provided no indication they were violating any laws or regulations.

For their part, they government says they were “formally notified on several occasions” concerning the licensing requirements.

Eventually, Sarah L Conant, chief at the Animal Health and Welfare Enforcement Branch of the USDA sent a letter to the family demanding more than $90,000 in fines – paid in full within 35 days – because they did not have a license with the USDA. Click on the images for to read the letter and demand for settlement.

McCarty notes a few facts…

The business was carefully conducted on the property of their Missouri home;
The business complied with all applicable state laws;
The bunnies were kept in large, clean and well-maintained cages;
Not a single bunny was sold across state lines.

Why would the USDA get involved with this?

President Obama signed an Executive Order in mid-January requiring federal departments start a complete review of stupid red tape and excessive regulations that do damage to the economy.

The families lawyer should call Mrs. Conant at the USDA, refer to the president’s Executive Order that was signed 90 days prior to receipt of the letter, and have her immediately rescind the so-called settlement agreement and close the investigation of the family.

Either that or she can shove the letter where the …

Update from FreeRepublic commenter dblshot

That’s what’s wrong with bureaucrats, they are breeding like rabbits.

12 replies
  1. WagTheDog
    WagTheDog says:

    Hum, let’s look at what’s going on here.
    1) Family i trying to teach their son about the economy (supply/demand – how to conduct business)
    2) The business was conducted in compliance of the laws and regulations
    3) State law is being superseded by the Federal Government
    4) The Feds are spending a disproportionate amount of money in execution of something that isn’t in their jurisdiction ($90,000/$200)? = 450% – figuring on the stated profit.
    5) The kid has just learned that there isn’t anything the government won’t take over

  2. TomTGRWolcott
    TomTGRWolcott says:

    The USDA is involved with animals, both domestic and wild.

    For instance, as a a previous owner of Sugar Gliders, the rules of? Connecticut
    were really unclear as to the ownership of these small marsupials.? However
    there was one law that was quite clear, it was of the breeding and selling of
    sugar gliders in the state of Connectiut that were over seen by the USDA.

    Although on a small scale, breeding and selling to friends, familes will not usually get you in trouble, but breeding and selling to Pet Shops, Childrens Mueseums and alike would require you as breeder/owner to have such license.

    Bird owners, such as Parrots, Conures, Parakeets, Finches, Canaries, are also required to have a USDA certificate from a licences vet as to the health of such bird before transporting either via airlines, or even in a car.

    I believe, that the USDA ensures that animal breeders are registered, and that the critters involved are treated properly.

    Now on the other hand, lets say that you have a TAG SALE or a YARD SALE…by doing so you are not technically running a business in the state as these types of sales are either 1 or two days.? However if you are doing TAG/YARD sales on a weekly basis then you are running a business and would be subject to registering with the state.

    So the question becomes why would one person who is breeding rabbits, selling them for what ever purpose, and is ensuring that the cages are clean, the animals well fed and water…why would the government get involved???

  3. drewsco
    drewsco says:

    TOM TGRWolcott:

    The answer to your question is stated explicitly?in your comment. The reason the government (The USDA) is involved is partly to “Ensure that animal breeders are registered, and that the critters are treated properly”?

  4. drewsco
    drewsco says:


    C’mon, thats a bit of a stretch.?Let reexamine your points:?

    POINT 1)-the family was tryin to teash their son about the economy. No! I would surmise that they were trying to make money, they only stated that to elicitsome sympathy from anti-government dissidents.
    POINT 2)-the business was conducted in compliance?of the laws and regulations-No! actually it wasn’t, they were not complying with the Federal regulations.
    POINT 3)- State law is being superceded by Federal Government-No! actually the federal law merely imposes additional regulations?animal breeding and sales. Even if it superceded state law, I would surmise that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution?gives the that right. Think about this, these people sell these animals to pet stores who then resell them to buyers across the country, the Federal Gov has a right to ensure that all proper measures are complied.
    POINT ?4)- The?Feds are spending an disproportionate amount of money in execution of something thats not in their jurisdiction. No! they are not, and there is no evidence in this story that suggests that. I think you’re confusing the monetary fine?they’re imposing with how much it’s costing them to enforce their regulations.
    POINT 5)- I won’t dissert this opinion even though I think its misguided.??????

  5. David R
    David R says:

    What Obama has to do with this is beyond me. What the Dollarhite’s are responding to is a form letter that they were given about a month to respond to: for a hearing. How are they getting this much attention when the outcome is likely to be either little or no fine, depending of course on whether they actually did something wrong.? But with a lot of stories like this the accusations, in this case against the USDA,?will circulate for a long-long time, even if it gets resloved like I think it will.? Maybe we can wait and see what happens..before firing the cannons.

  6. ricbee
    ricbee says:

    Well,Obama was almost right about the Cambridge cop,but it wasn’t “acting stupidly” it was police arrogance & that cop should have been fired. Our police are running wild & now apparently so is Ag.

  7. JollyRoger
    JollyRoger says:

    And these are the same folks that let the New Black Panthers walk on the voter intimidation charges?? Justice is blind- and selective!

  8. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    Wag the Dog, I am with you. I read your post and thought, “Absolutely letter perfect, correct”. Drewsco, I find it disturbing that it is evil to make money and to teach a son to make money. God how awful. We should all teach our children to live off the state, the same state that is broke because no one knows how to make money anymore.? Where is Neil Cavuto to scream when I need him?

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