Oregon Joins 21 States Who Harvest Roadkill As Meat


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Grace Carr Reporter
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Motorists who crash into animals can now harvest that meat for food in Oregon after state Senate Bill 372 passed overwhelmingly and was signed by the governor last week.

The state bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Hansell and Rep. Greg Barreto, allows the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) to issue salvage permits for deer and elk that are accidentally killed in vehicle collisions. The bill passed the state senate April 6 by a vote of 29-0, according to the Associated Press, and Gov. Kate Brown recently signed the bill into action.

“Those accidents are very unfortunate [but] it seemed there’s just got to be a better way to take care of that,” said Hansell.

The bill applies only to deer and elk, and animals cannot be hit and killed off road. Their salvage is allowed for human consumption of meat only, and the antlers must be turned over to ODFW.

Approximately 20 other states have a similar laws, including Washington and Idaho. Washington enacted its roadkill salvage program in July 2016, issuing 1,100 permits over the first six months. Pennsylvanians can also take deer or turkeys that are killed on the road if they report the incidents to the commission within 24 hours. The state tops the country in road kills, with over 126,000 vehicle-wildlife accidents in 2015, according to Travis Lau, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Before the bill was passed, only licensed fur takers could keep the meat, and no one could keep game animals found as roadkill. The rules were aimed at discouraging people from hitting a game animal with their vehicle to take the meat or antlers.

Many people are turned off by the roadkill aspect and the highly questionable health standards, but others feel differently. “A lot of people who don’t hunt hear the word ‘roadkill’ and they get turned off … we’re talking perfectly clean, cold meat,” said Todd Toven of Castle Rock, Colo. who posted a YouTube video  showing himself carving up a deer that had been hit. He used the meat to make venison sausage.

Oregon will issue its first permits no later than Jan. 1, 2019, according to ABC News.

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