California Suggests “Cleaning Up” Highways By Eating Roadkill

Leave it to California to introduce a bill suggesting residents eat the deer they hit on their way home.

Senate Bill No. 395 isn’t a law yet but could be within the next few years and it would make it legal to collect or possess roadkill animals. Until the bill passes, state officials say anyone caught collecting or possessing animals killed in traffic collisions could face a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

If passed, the bill would amend current state law to allow drivers who fatally strike a deer, elk, antelope or wild pig to take the animal home and cook it. The bill would also let people not in vehicles who simply stumble upon an animal to keep it for food.

However, the new law will only authorize the California Fish and Game Commission to establish a pilot program by 2022 that would permit and regulate where people can collect salvageable wild game meat and take it home.

A person looking to obtain a “wildlife salvage permit” would be required to report information that would help track details about wildlife-vehicle collisions in California.

It’s reported that 56,000 animal carcasses were found on local roads and state highways from 2009 to 2017 in California alone.

Supporters of the bill say the bill provides important data that can be used for conservation efforts, could help improve traffic safety and would salvage wildlife meat and prevent waste.

It turns out, California isn’t the first to look into this option. Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska all have programs allowing citizens to salvage wildlife meat.

If and when the program launches, it will take be limited as to certain regions and counties.