Harvesting roadkill for food gets closer look

2013-10-15T00:28:00Z 2013-10-23T14:42:43Z Harvesting roadkill for food gets closer lookBilly Hesterman - Daily Herald Daily Herald
October 15, 2013 12:28 am  • 

Taking and baking the animals on the sides of Utah's roads might get a little easier if one Utah lawmaker gets his way.

Rep. Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden, is drafting legislation that will streamline the process that allows Utahns to take home roadkill.

"Whatever animal comes across there, if you hit the animal and you feel the meat is still good, you'll be able to get a license for the animal so you can legally take it home," Pitcher said.

In Utah, harvesting roadkill is allowed, but limited. A permit is required through Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources.

Under Pitcher's proposal, if a vehicle strikes an animal, police would be called to the scene to write up a report on the incident and to issue a permit to the owner of the vehicle to take the animal and harvest it for meat.

"A lot of people already do take the animal and process it with out the tags," Pitcher said. "All this does is make it a legal process."

Utah is not the only state looking to change the process of how roadkill is handled. Recently Montana passed legislation that allows residents to take home an animal carcass struck by their car. Under the new law, Montana residents would be able to purchase a permit online within 24 hours of the collision and not have to deal with law enforcement to obtain tags for the animal.

The state also is looking at creating a smartphone application to allow for an easier process to purchase roadkill permits within the Big Sky State, according to a story from the Associated Press.

Harvesting roadkill is supported by PETA, a national animal rights group. According to the organization's website, roadkill is a "superior option" if people must eat animal meat.

"Eating roadkill is healthier for the consumer than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones and growth stimulants, as most meat is today," according to a PETA statement. "It is also more humane in that animals killed on the road were not castrated, dehorned, or debeaked without anesthesia, did not suffer the trauma and misery of transportation in a crowded truck in all weather extremes, and did not hear the screams and smell the fear of the animals ahead of them on the slaughter line."

Pitcher said he plans to introduce his legislation in January at the beginning of the 2014 legislative general session.

-- Billy Hesterman covers the Utah State Legislature and local politics for the Daily Herald. You can follow him on Twitter at: @billyhesterman
Read more from Billy Hesterman here.

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