The right to scrape up and eat roadkill is about to be granted to choosey eaters among Montana's residents.
State lawmakers were poised to pass a bill allowing recovery of certain animals killed by vehicles as early as Thursday, after which it will be sent to the office of Gov. Steve Bullock for his signature.
"It really is a sin to waste good meat," said state Sen. Larry Jent, a proponent of the legislation.
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The law would allow residents to remove the carcasses of elk, deer, antelope, and moose from the state's roadways, but not other roadkill such as fur-bearing animals, like beaver, mink, muskrat, and skunks, as well as upland game birds and migratory game birds.
The new measure would require those hoping to salvage protein from the side of the road to first obtain a permit from state law enforcement officials, The Associated Press reported.
Opponents of the bill argue the measure could lead to liability issues because law-enforcement officers might not be qualified to decide whether roadkill is safe to eat.
"Despite it's good intention, it doesn't pass the smell test for me," said state Sen. Kendall Van Dyk.
The measure defers to the state's Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency to regulate how the roadkill is actually salvaged.
Montana isn't the only state that allows for residents to put roadkill to use.
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Illinois residents with a furbearing permit can also salvage meat from dead animals along the road and also use their fur for pelts.
In Alaska, troopers from the state's fish and wildlife protection agency oversee a program in which about 820 moose carcasses are divided up between local charitable organizations which prepare the meat for needy people.
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