New California Bill Would Allow Drivers to Eat Roadkill

Flickr/Don DeBold

If you’re driving down a California highway and accidentally hit an animal, it’s currently illegal to remove that animal from its place. Now, a new bill proposes to give drivers the opportunity to eat that roadkill within 24 hours of being hit.

Senate Bill 395, sponsored by Sen. Bob J. Archuleta, D-Montebello, would amend state law and Fish and Game code to allow drivers or passerby’s to salvage animals hit by cars by applying for a wildlife salvage permit.

The bill applies to deer, elk, antelope and wild pigs, but not any animals protected by the Endangered Species Act.


“It is estimated that over 20,000 deer alone are hit by motor vehicles on California’s roadways,” claims Archuleta’s bill. “This translates into hundreds of thousands of pounds of healthy meat that could be utilized to feed those in need.”

Oregon and Idaho have passed similar legislation, with Idaho seeing over 5,000 animals salvaged in the law’s four years in existence.

The illegality of removing animal carcasses from the roads stems from safety concerns and the state’s strict hunting laws. Currently, illegally removing an animal from a road could result in a $1,000 fine.

The law could not only salvage otherwise unused animal meat, but also help highway regulators track roadkill hotspots to help reduce collisions.

If passed, the new law would go into effect in 2021.

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