Last year, Montana state representative Steve Lavin introduced a radical idea to the Montana legislature: issue permits to allow people to harvest roadkill in order to eat it. In defiance of all of the known limits of the human appetite, the program has been a rousing success! Montana has issued at least 800 roadkill permits since the program went into effect, the Billings Gazette is reporting.
“I’m elated… I’ve heard a lot of positive comments about it.”
Representative Lavin, who is also a state trooper (and has undoubtedly dealt with his share of roadkill in his career), didn’t mention the number of jokes he’s endured from his colleagues for his roadkill program.
The purpose of the Montana roadkill program, according to KABB, is to help people who otherwise may not be able to afford meat to have food that would otherwise go to waste. Montana — like other states that have large Native American populations — has a high percentage of people within its borders living in poverty, according to the University of Montana (PDF).
Jim Kropp, of the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department, says that the permits can be issued online (click here) or by law enforcement officers on the scene of a roadkill incident.
“There was a lot of concern at first about how we were going to get our arms around this. We canvassed a lot of other states who had similar programs. No new programs are ever without problems, but we’re happy with where we’re at now.”
In fact, several states besides Montana allow roadkill to be eaten, including Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, and Alaska, according to the Gazette-Journal.
The top roadkill dishes in Montana so far have been whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, and moose.
“There are a lot of animals that probably still aren’t salvageable, but people are trying.”
Modern Farmer writer Brendan Buhler says that eating roadkill is actually a humane and ethical way to eat meat, even going so far as to say that it’s appropriate for vegans and vegetarians to eat roadkill because the animal wasn’t murdered — it died naturally. And even though it seems disgusting on its surface, eating roadkill actually makes sense.
“Practical, culinary and even legal considerations make it hard for many to imagine cooking our vehicular accidents, but that needn’t be the case. If the roadkill is fresh, perhaps hit on a cold day and ideally a large animal, it is as safe as any game.”
Would you eat roadkill?
[Image courtesy of: Out Beyond Atlantis]