SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Some folks in Oregon might not want to ask, when served an elk burger or a venison steak, where the meat came from. Under a roadkill bill passed overwhelmingly by the Legislature and signed by the governor, motorists who crash into the animals can now harvest the meat to eat.
And it’s not as unusual as people might think. About 20 other states also allow people to take meat from animals killed by vehicles. Aficionados say roadkill can be high-quality, grass-fed grub.
“Eating roadkill is healthier for the consumer than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones and growth stimulants, as most meat is today,” noted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.
Washington state began allowing the salvaging of deer and elk carcasses a year ago. Pennsylvania might top the country in road kills, with Oregon wildlife officials telling lawmakers that the eastern state had over 126,000 vehicle-wildlife accidents in 2015.
Most Read Stories
“We are at or near the top of the list. We have a lot of roads and a lot of deer,” said Travis Lau, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, though he added the total number was uncertain.
Pennsylvanians can take deer or turkeys that are killed on the road if they report the incidents to the commission within 24 hours, Lau said in a telephone interview.
Gov. Kate Brown signed Oregon’s bill last week after the Senate and House passed it without a single “nay” vote.
But a few Oregonians voiced opposition.
Vivian Kirkpatrick-Pilger, a Republican Party official in mountainous, forested Josephine County, told legislators that people have been salvaging roadkill meat in Oregon for years — since vehicles and animals have been colliding — and they never needed a law or permit to do it.
Actually, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said that before last week, the only people allowed to keep roadkill were…