Montanans could salvage roadkill with proper permits

| Friday, March 22, 2013, 8:27 p.m.

HELENA, Mont. — Why should roadkill be destroyed or left to rot?

The Montana Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would allow residents to harvest for food big game animals like deer, elk and moose killed by vehicles.

The Senate voted 28-21 to pass the roadkill salvage bill. It now goes to Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, who has not indicated whether he will sign it.

Under the measure, law enforcement officers would issue permits for the salvage of deer, elk, moose and antelope struck by vehicles in the state.

“It seems like a waste,” said Rep. Bill Lavin, the Republican sponsor of the bill, who is also a Montana Highway Patrol officer. “This bill ... would allow me to legally call the food bank or allow somebody else who requests it to take it and use it.”

Lavin had originally included the likes of fur-bearing animals and game birds in the draft bill, but removed them amid concerns that it might encourage poaching because of the “high value of some of their parts.”

Opponents of the bill raised concerns over food safety should Montana residents be allowed to feed on animals pulled dead off the state's highways.

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