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New California Law Could Encourage Feasting on Roadkill

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Wisconsin Deer Accident Before Midterm Elections Wildlife Traffic Safety Alert
Photo: Neal Herbert

California is planning to implement a new law, which could let drivers dine on roadkill. The Wildlife Traffic Safety Act aims to reduce food by allowing drivers to use roadkill to feed the hungry.

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What the Wildlife Traffic Safety Act entails

State agents in California are the only ones allowed to remove roadkill, which can lead to the meat going bad if the carcass lies on the side of the road for a while. The Wildlife Traffic Safety Act, or the SB-395, would remove the fines and sanctions that currently prevent drivers from also taking roadkill.

The hope is that drivers will be able to salvage the meat from wild pig, elk, deer or antelope and be able to eat it. In order to do so, you would need to first have an app-based permit allocation. Nevertheless, the law would also limit the areas you could pick up roadkill by creating three jurisdictions where these mammals are abundant or where collisions with animals occur most often.

The SB-395 states that each year almost 20,000 deer die alongside the highways in California alone. The new law argues that instead of letting this large amount of meat go to waste, the healthy meat should go towards people in need of food.

The California Bureau of Fish and Game will be in charge of the app-based pilot program, though the locations where you could stop for roadkill still have yet to be announced. No matter where the designated areas would be, it would still be illegal to pick up roadkill when on the freeway since you can legally only stop your vehicle in the event of an emergency.

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As of now, California is still in the very early stages of conducting the pilot program. It remains to be seen if and where drivers will soon be able to search for fresh meat on the side of the road.