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Eating Roadkill Encouraged Under Oregon Law

THU JAN 03, 2019 | ABOUT 4 HOURS AGO | POSTED IN: ODD NEWS

SALEM, Ore. — Want to scoop a dead animal off the highway for dinner?

It's now legal in Oregon.

Drivers who turn the state's deer and elk into roadkill now can harvest them for food as a result of the law, which went into effect New Year's Day. About 20 states already let drivers turn roadkill into food with advocates calling the practice healthier and more humane letting it sit along a street.

"Eating roadkill is healthier for the consumer than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulants, as most meat is today," noted PETA, or the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, on its site.

But the state has rules before a dead animal can become filet mig-roadkill: An animal's antlers must be turned in within five business days, for example, and it's illegal to intentionally hit an animal.

“It’s important to note that people are eating this at their own risk,” said Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It’s up to each person to decide whether the meat is appropriate to eat."

Here’s a breakdown of nine rules to follow if you want to dine on roadkill in Oregon, courtesy of the Fish and Wildlife Department:

1. Eat at your own risk

Any person who salvages a deer or elk will consume the meat at their own risk, so check for conditions such as chronic wasting disease. The state will not perform game meat inspections for any deer or elk salvaged.

2. Remove the carcass from the road

The entire carcass of the animal, including gut piles, must be removed from the road and right of way.

3. Selling the meat is prohibited

Sale of any part of a salvaged animal is prohibited, but transfer to another person will be allowed with a written record similar to transferring game meat.

4. Salvage the animals only for consumption

Deer and elk that a vehicle accidentally strikes may be salvaged for consumption only. Intentionally hitting a deer or elk to eat it remains unlawful. Oregon State Police could follow up if a situation appears suspicious.

5. Deer and elk only

This law applies only to deer and elk, not other animals. For information related to what to do about animals such as bears or mountain goats that vehicles strike, see the state's roadkill page.

“If this leads to animals that are accidentally stuck not being wasted, that’s a good thing and the intent of the law,” Dennehy said. “The goal is to put the meat to good use if possible.”

6. Head and antlers must be turned in

Antlers and head of all salvaged animals will need to be surrendered to an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office within five business days of taking possession of the carcass. This rule is intended to help the department's surveillance program on chronic wasting disease.

“A lot of people do collect and sell antlers, and that’s not what this program is for,” Dennehy said.

7. Only driver can salvage an animal put down

In cases where a deer or elk is struck, injured and then killed to alleviate suffering, only the driver of the vehicle that struck the animal may salvage the carcass. Law enforcement must be notified immediately.

8. You must complete the permit

Anyone who salvages a road-killed deer or elk must complete a free online permit within 24 hours and provide information including name, contact information, where and when salvage occurred, species and gender of animal salvaged, and if that person was the driver who struck the animal.

“The permit system is intended to track the number of animals being salvaged,” Dennehy said.

9. The state is not liable

The state of Oregon is not liable for any loss or damage arising from the recovery, possession, use, transport or consumption of deer or elk salvaged.

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