By KATHRYN HAAKE
2013-03-21 08:37 AM
Montana lawmakers are poised to say just that after the state Senate gave its initial support Wednesday to a bill that would allow people to salvage roadkill for food. The measure is now a final vote from heading to Gov. Steve Bullock.
Supporters say it makes no sense to let the carcasses go to waste.
"It really is a sin to waste a good meat," said state Sen. Larry Jent.
The measure calls for law enforcement officers to issue permits to individuals who would be allowed to remove the carcasses of elk, deer, antelope and moose off the state's roadways. The Western state, sometimes known as Big Sky Country, has plenty of rural roads and big animals that wander across them.
Opponents question whether the meat would be safe and whether it would create liability issues for food banks that accept it. Sen. Kendall Van Dyk said law enforcement officers are not qualified to decide whether roadkill is safe to eat.
"Despite it's good intention, it doesn't pass the smell test for me," Van Dyke said.
Cattle ranchers like Sen. Jim Peterson questioned how roadkill could be harvested for food when the cattle industry must follow strict federal regulations.
Montana is not alone in considering the usefulness of roadkill. Illinois allows people with a permit to remove roadkill for pelts and also allows for the salvaging of meat.
Alaska Fish and Wildlife Protection Troopers run a program that divides approximately 820 moose carcasses to charitable organizations, like churches and nonprofit organizations, who cook up moose meat for needy people.
As to whether the measure would create a new weapon for hunters _ the car _ Jent said he doesn't see that as plausible.
"We don't have very many suicidal drivers," Jent said.