Free meat, in this case, isn’t vacuum-packed burgers from the butcher, but rather from a mature elk cow. It’s roadkill, and it’s enough to supply a family with meat for a year.
More and more states are allowing the harvesting the results of “oh, deer” going to “oh dear.” According to Jillian Kay Mechior in National Review, though it reportedly had strong support. Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
No doubt there are states that have no law because collecting and recycling road kill hasn’t been something that’s been seen as necessary to control. It’s there on the road for the taking, so who should stop anyone from picking it up?
Still, there’s revulsion to mangled meat from the motorway.
“I think there is a knee-jerk reaction, a stigma of sorts against anything road kill,” Root tells National Review Online. “People have this vision in their heads of days- or weeks-old, flattened, sun-dried carcasses. But that’s not really what we’re talking about. . . . It’s silly in my mind that we can’t harvest any part of that animal. . . . That’s literally tons of meat that is being wasted every year.”
Oddly enough, PETA, which usually objects to eating meat and has even proposed setting up memorials to roadkill, approves because the meat would be going to waste otherwise, plus the victim suffered less, from PETA’s viewpoint, than animals killed in an abattoir.
Of course, recovering the roadkill is easier said than done. First, you have to be where the roadkill is, and then have the capability of handling a ton of elk. Then what do you do if you don’t have Sarah Palin in the back seat to field dress it? And finally, if it’s you who hit the elk, deer, wild pig (bacon, why not?), your vehicle—and you—might be as mangled as your flattened four-legged newfound friend. It’s probably better to avoid a run-in to begin with.
Free meat? Perhaps. But that sliced up steer at the supermarket looks better all the time.