Senate Bill 395, proposed by Democratic State Senator Bob Archuleta of Montebello, would require the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide free wilife salvage permits to people who accidentally kill deer, elk, antelope or wild pigs while driving in California. According to the bill's text, around 20,000 deer alone are killed annually by motor vehicles on California's roadways.
The bill, which does not apply to any other animals, would also allow a person who "unintentionally strikes a deer, elk, antelope or wild pig on a roadway in California with a vehicle" and leaves the animal severely injured to "to immediately thereafter dispatch the severely injured animal in a safe, legal and humane manner, and to recover, possess, use or transport the whole animal and salvage the edible portions of the animal."
"This translates into hundreds of thousands of pounds of healthy meat that could be utilized to feed those in need," Senate Bill 395's bill text reads.
Existing California laws make salvaging a dead animal that has been hit by a vehicle illegal: only state and local agencies are legally allowed to remove dead animals from California's roads. Senate Bill 395 would change all that. If passed, the bill would become law starting January 1, 2021.
On its website, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) states "if people must eat animal carcasses, roadkill is a superior option to the neatly shrink-wrapped plastic packages of meat in the supermarket."
"Eating roadkill is healthier for the consumer than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones and growth stimulants, as most meat is today," the post adds.
"It is also more humane in that animals killed on the road were not castrated, dehorned or debeaked without anesthesia, did not suffer the trauma and misery of transportation in a crowded truck in all weather extremes and did not hear the screams and smell the fear of the animals ahead of them on the slaughter line. Perhaps the animals never knew what hit them," the post continues
More than 20 US states allow people to salvage and consume some types of roadkill.