A new Oregon law allows motorists to harvest and eat the meat of animals they hit while driving. The bill was passed overwhelmingly by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor.
Oregon joins 20 other states which allow people to harvest the meat from animals struck by vehicles. Washington allowed the salvaging of elk and deer carcasses in 2016.
Proponents of the law say roadkill meat often comes from grass-fed animals, making it a high-quality meat.
“Eating roadkill is healthier for the consumer than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones and growth stimulants, as most meat is today,” said PETA.
Pennsylvania is estimated to be the top state in the country in road kills. Oregon wildlife officials say the state had 126,000 vehicle-related wildlife accidents in 2015.
Residents of Pennsylvania are permitted to take turkeys or deer killed in the road if the incident is reported to the commission within 24 hours.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the bill last week after it was passed unanimously by the House and Senate.
Those opposed to the law say people have been salvaging roadkill meat in the state for years without the need for a law or permit to do it.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife argued that before the law was signed, only those who were licensed furtakers were allowed to take roadkill. Even licensed hunters were prohibited from taking roadkill before the new law.
The previous law was in place to prevent people from using their vehicles to hit a game animal and harvest their meat and antlers. This is “not a legal method of hunting,” says the Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
Under the new law, the Fish and Wildlife Commission will adopt rules that allows for the issuance of permits specifically for harvesting meat from elk or deer that were killed in vehicle collisions.