The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Montana Set To Legalize Roadkill Salvage As Nanny Staters Fret

The Nanny Staters are at it again, and this time they want to stop honest Americans who only want to enjoy some good roadkill. The Christian Science Monitor has a fun little article on the subject occasioned by Montana’s move to make roadkill salvage legal as of next Tuesday.

Though the article assures us that “roadkill salvage and consumption remains a fringe activity,” the practice is apparently important to a surprisingly diverse chunk of the population. “Freegans” who oppose the mass industrialization and homogenization of the food market are in favor of roadkill consumption, and even PETA supports the legislation. In Wisconsin alone, citizens annually salvage 45,000 dead deer. In Alaska, food charities and soup kitchens often serve hungry Alaskans with roadkill salvaged by state troopers. New Yorkers can get their just desserts: the state allows drivers to keep any deer they’ve happened to plow into. All in all, it seems like more Americans than one might expect agree with Montana state Sen. Larry Jent, who said “It really is a sin to waste a good meat.”

Gourmet roadkill isn’t exactly VM‘s cup of tea, but we recognize people across this great country have diverse tastes. Unfortunately, the Nanny Staters aren’t willing to be so tolerant. Naturally, these fussbudgets are concerned and think Something Must Be Done, preferably by career civil servants on a government mandate:

But as the US Congress recently boosted US food inspections after a series of high-profile poisoning cases involving peanuts and spinach, questions are also emerging about the wisdom of licensing roadkill salvage outside of the federal inspection regime.

Sen. Kendall Van Dyk, a Billings Democrat, said police shouldn’t be expected to know how to tell whether a dead animal is safe to eat.

While food safety is a valid concern, Montana’s legislators need to put this particular inspection checklist back in their holster. Supermarket food should be inspected and safe, but if people want to eat roadkill, we say let ‘em. We’re facing far bigger problems than folks circumventing the supermarket these days.

[Image of Deer on a Road Courtesy of Shutterstock]

Published on March 23, 2013 12:15 pm