Roadkill For Dinner? Montana Law Will Allow Residents To Take Home And Eat Animal Carcasses
Roadkill for dinner? Montanans are pushing legislation that would allow residents of the state to pick up and eat animals accidentally killed by vehicles.
"If there is some good stuff there, why not use it, rather than throw it away?" Steve Lavin, a state representative who introduced the legislation, told the New York Times. "If someone has suffered damage to their vehicle, why not let them use that animal for some food?"
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Sound strange? It's actually not that uncommon. According to the New York Times, roadkill is increasingly popping up on people's dinner menus. A dozen states - including New York, Colorado and West Virginia - already allow people to obtain permits for taking home and eating dead animals.
"It really is a sin to waste that good meat when there's no reason to, when it could be salvaged and somebody could use it," Montana senator Larry Jent told Montana Public Radio.
Montana's roadkill legislation is called House Bill 247. The state Senate already passed a version of the bill, and so did the House.
If given final approval, the bill would allow law enforcement to give people permits for deer, elk, antelope and moose that are struck and killed by vehicles. The salvaging of the carcasses would still be handled by the Department of Fish Wildlife And Parks, according to Montana Public Media.
But how safe is eating roadkill for dinner?
According to Food Safety News, it's not much different than eating game killed by a hunter.
"The risks that exists with roadkill will be similar from a foodborne illness perspective as those from hunting wild game," Susan Vaughn Grooters, director of research and education at Safe Tables Our Priority, told Food Safety News. "So with deer as road kill, one would want to consider risks that already exist in consuming venison, meaning chronic wasting disease, toxoplasmosis gondii, and other infections. Zoonoses are species specific, so other roadkill, say squirrel or raccoon, will have disease associations unique to their species."
In states like Alaska where any roadkill must be handed over to the state, officials will often collect the roadkill, butcher it and distribute it to charities.
Even PETA is onboard with roadkill for dinner, saying:
"If people must eat animal carcasses, roadkill is a superior option to the neatly shrink-wrapped plastic packages of meat in the supermarket."
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