You didn’t read the title wrong. It may or may not come as a surprise to you, but people are eating roadkill. More roadkill. And many of them are doing it partly as an act of conservationism. Many roadkill connoisseurs are part of an underground food/consumption movement, known as “freegans,” which has been around for a while. Their practices and rules are surprisingly well-established, and in many states regulated by law.
From Food Safety News:
The practice of eating roadkill is part of a waste-not, want-not philosophy that drives other people, some of them previously vegans, to scavenge meat …
People who eat roadkill might be hunters who know their way around a dead animal, or people who call themselves freegans, and are used to eating from unregulated sources, like Dumpsters. Some practitioners have written how-to guides, such as the zine quoted in Sandor Ellix Katz’s book The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements.
State by state rules vary on the legality of taking home roadkill. In many states, one can actually get on the local game warden’s list and wait for a call.
The practice of eating roadkill is even greenlighted by PETA as one of the healthiest, most humane and ethical ways of approaching the consumption of animals:
If people must eat animal carcasses, roadkill is a superior option to the neatly shrink-wrapped plastic packages of meat in the supermarket.
Eating roadkill is healthier for the consumer than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulants, as most meat is today. 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. Perhaps the animals never knew what hit them.
But eating roadkill has become more than just a counter-cultural act of alternative eating, it’s taken on the life of a cuisine, and even a culinary adventure. Recently, Steven Rinella (host of The Travel Channel’s The Wild Within), prepared his dinner guests a “San Francisco Roadkill Racoon” and served it on air for their dining pleasure. I think a video clip is worth a thousand words:
Photo credit: dreamstime