Would You Eat Roadkill? It’s Healthier Than You Think
Only about 1 in 20 people hunt these days, with most of us choosing to buy our meat at the grocery store. Others of us have decided to abstain from meat entirely. This is because the meat industry does a lot of harm to the environment, like demolishing forests for more land. Most of the meat at the store also contains all sorts of antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulants. Unless you raise farm animals yourself, there are not as many options for well-treated, chemical-free meat. However, have you ever thought about the dead deer you saw on the side of the road? Most of us turn our heads the other way in disgust. In reality, roadkill may be healthier for you than the grocery store’s meat.
History of Roadkill Bans
Back in the 1950s, many states in the country started implementing bans on salvaging roadkill. This ban intended to prevent people from poaching and using their vehicles to hit animals. It essentially discouraged people from trying to kill their dinner for free. However, these pans caused people to look at the dead animal differently. Instead of seeing it as food, it was just a disgusting animal on the side of the road. The thought of anyone actually eating it was repulsive, and still is to many of us.
Over the years, these bans created a heavy load for state-funded highway cleaning crews. In response, Tennessee was the first state to repeal the ban. Since then, over five states have lifted the ban on salvaging roadkill. However, this did not make it so that anyone could pick up a dead animal if they saw it. The person has to apply for a permit or else it is still illegal to salvage.
One state that has nearly perfected the practice is Alaska. Cars in Alaska kill between 600 and 800 moose every year, which equates to about 250,000 pounds of organic, free-range meat. For many families, a single moose will provide enough meat for a year. If the carcass did not take enough damage to rupture the internal organs (which will spoil the meat), the highway patrol distributes the meat to those who need it. If the organs did rupture, there are also people who will use the meat for dogs and for bear bait.
Why Roadkill Is Healthy
Depending on where the car hit the animal, certain parts of it may not be fit to eat. However, there will likely still be salvageable meat. In fact, even PETA sees roadkill as a superior option for meat. The animal did not have all of the antibiotics and hormones, but it was completely natural and organic. It also did not have to face the brutality of factory farms and slaughterhouses. In most cases, the animal probably did not even know what hit them. If you want truly organic meat that is also free-range, roadkill is one of the best options available. You just have to make sure to store it and prepare it properly to prevent any bacteria growth.
The people in Alaska have been eating free meat from roadkill for over 50 years. As other states lift the ban on salvaging roadkill, others may be able to experience it for themselves. However, it will take time for people to overcome the stigma that this kind of meat is dirty and gross. Salvaging these dead animals will not feed everyone in the country, but it can be a way for some people to have access to free meat. The people who want a part of this will have to apply for a permit in the state that allows it and learn how to do it safely.