Readings — From the June 2013 issue

Removable Feast

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From remarks in the Montana State Legislature concerning a bill allowing drivers to salvage the carcasses of antelope, deer, elk, and moose killed in automobile accidents. In 2011, there were more than 1,900 collisions between vehicles and wild animals in the state. The bill was signed into law in April.

This is a bill that allows a law-enforcement officer to issue a permit to possess a roadkill animal if the motorist is the person whose vehicle smote that particular creature to death or if the animal needed a little help from the law-enforcement officer. It really is a sin to waste that good meat when it could be salvaged, when somebody could use it.

It’s hard for me to imagine anyone who wants to salvage an animal that’s been killed by an automobile, knowing all the work we do in the beef industry to supply safe and high-quality food to the consumers of this country.

I don’t anticipate that it’s a good idea to allow law-enforcement officers to make determinations as to whether the meat is still good. On hot days it won’t last very long.

It’s pretty easy to tell if they’re fresh or not fresh, and I don’t want any more government to come out and try to determine whether or not these are good or bad. Please don’t gut my roadkill bill.

Okay, let’s say somebody’s going down the highway and this bull elk jumps out and it’s killed — only this bull elk happens to be one for the record books. Is the salvage going to enable whoever gets that to retain the antlers too?

Correct me if I’m wrong here: this only applies to animals that are killed. What about an animal that’s lying on the roadside with three broken legs?

I support this bill because I have a couple of hunters at home that have poor luck and I hope this would help.

I bought a brand-new truck a couple years ago. Had seventy-some thousand dollars invested in it. My great driver happened to hit a moose, did $4,000 worth of damage, fortunately didn’t total it, but you know that moose might’ve taken a little sting out of the price tag to clean my rig up.

This bill could save the Department of Transportation hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars. I don’t know if they still do it, but I know at one time in the Bitterroot Valley they had to actually rent a cooler because they couldn’t drag the animals off the road and hide them anymore.

I drive three or four days a week, about seventy miles from Darby to Missoula, and every single morning there’s five or six deer lying along the road and an occasional elk. So I think this is a good bill just to kind of clean things up.

I support this bill because driving the Swan Highway there are injured eagles, and when they are feasting on that deer a lot of times they don’t get airborne enough to keep from, uh, being hit by a car. So I think this would also help the eagles.

I understand the problem. I don’t like wasting, and I really hate to see the animals on the side of the road — but I think I would hate even more for someone to be picking up the animals and eating the roadkill.

From a public-safety perspective, despite all its good intentions, this bill, no pun intended, does not pass the smell test for me.

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