If I’m driving and I see a dead deer on the side of the road, my first thought is usually something along the lines of “Poor Bambi.” But if your first thought is “Dinner!” you’ll be happy to hear about a new law in Oregon. The Beaver State is now one of about 20 states where you can legally eat the meat of certain types of roadkill (beavers not included).
Last week, Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown signed a bill – unanimously passed by both the state’s Senate and House – that requires the State Fish and Wildlife Commission to “adopt rules for the issuance of wildlife salvage permits to persons desiring to recover, possess, use or transport, for the purpose of salvaging game meat for human consumption, deer or elk that have been accidentally killed as a result of a vehicle collision.” The law only applies to deer and elk (sorry, bear meat enthusiasts), and permit holders are required to “promptly surrender the antlers of the deer or elk to the State Department of Fish and Wildlife.”
The passage of the new law raises two interesting questions: Do people really want to eat roadkill? And if so, why was eating roadkill illegal in the first place? According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, part of the answer to the latter question was that the rule hopefully prevented people from attempting to hit these animals on purpose to get their meat or antlers. “It’s not a legal method of hunting,” the department states.
As to the former question, even the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was able to muster up some positives for feasting on roadkill. “Eating roadkill is healthier for the consumer than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones and growth stimulants, as most meat is today,” PETA said according to the Associated Press. Yes, roadkill may be a healthier meat option; just watch out for any bits of broken headlight or brake fluid.