During my first or second year of college, my biology curriculum included torturing rabbits. Really. We took blood from the rabbits’ ears and performed certain kinds of experiments. Beautiful rabbits. By the end of the semester most of the rabbits suffered serious infections that claimed their ears—some died. It was monstrous. It was how it was back then.

Animals were animals. Dogs were usually chained outside and cats were left to become road pizza.

But most of us now realize that torturing animals does not further mankind’s interest. Of course, there are those who are on either side of that extreme.

I’m an animal lover. I do not equate animals with people. I know the difference. I eat meat. However, I firmly believe that animals must be treated humanely even if they’re raised for food.

I voted for the puppy mill legislation. There are too many unwanted dogs and cats now. Breeding more makes no sense. So breeders should be vetted. Dogs and cats are not farm animals.

But what has happened to Nixa’s Judy and John Dollarhite defies common sense. And while I want to defend my government’s actions, I cannot.

This is just nuts. The Dollarhites are being threatened and harassed because they sold a few rabbits. Perhaps the USDA could refocus their attention to factory farms and large scale operations that eschew safety measures along with humane treatment of animals and people for profits.

But that’s the rub. The current regulations, just like with the raw milk debacle that heated up last year, favor big operations over small operations.

Small farmers, small producers cannot financially meet all the regulations that the big operations can and must. And they shouldn’t have to. It is again the sledge-hammer one-size-fits-all approach.

The USDA would be well advised to give this fight up. Especially in this anti-government climate. It just feeds the seeds that government is evil—and in this case, it is hard to disagree.

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