We’re all for finding new ways to create sustainable meals – but a recent proposal from Montana has us wondering, how far is too far? The Montana Senate passed a bill yesterday that makes it legal to harvest and eat roadkill. Until now, animal carcasses have been left on the side of the road or destroyed, but to state Representative Bill Lavin, the sponsor of the bill, that “seems like a waste.” If the bill is signed into law, drivers in Montana would be able to collect and use dead animals left on the side of the roads.
Under the bill, which passed the House in February, large animals like elk, deer, moose and antelope can be collected for food. Law enforcement officers would issue permits to allow harvesting under the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Lavin likens the process to that of hunting. A previous version of the bill allowed for harvesting animals like bears and bobcats, but the decision was made to cut those animals for fear that some motorists would intentionally try to hit them for their valuable pelts.
But opponents worry that there will be no food safety process in place to protect salvagers from eating bad meat. The Montana Food Bank Network said that they will not be able to accept roadkill meat. One opponent, Senator Kendall Van Dyk asks, “Are highway patrolmen and law enforcement experts in meat inspection?”
State Governor Steve Bullock hasn’t commented yet on whether he will sign the bill into law. Other states like Alaska, Illinois and Idaho already have similar road kill laws, including Alaska’s law, which divides moose carcasses up to share with charitable organizations around the state. So what do you think? Is roadkill a tasty meal or food poisoning waiting to happen?