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Montana Senate Backs Bill To Allow People To Salvage Roadkill For Food

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File photo of a deer crossing at a 'deer crossing' sign.  (credit:  KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a deer crossing at a ‘deer crossing’ sign. (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Elk, deer, antelope and moose: If Montana residents can scrape it up, they can eat it.

State lawmakers are poised to say just that after the Senate gave its initial backing Wednesday to a bill that would allow people to salvage roadkill for food. The measure is now a final vote from heading to Gov. Steve Bullock.

It makes no sense to let the carcasses of big-game go to waste on Montana’s roadways, supporters said.

“It really is a sin to waste a good meat,” said state Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman.

The measure calls for law-enforcement officers to issue permits to individuals who would be allowed to remove the carcasses of elk, deer, antelope and moose off the state’s roadways. An earlier version would have allowed fur-bearing animals, upland game birds and migratory game birds to be scraped up, too, but it got canned.

Opponents question whether the meat would be safe and whether it would create liability issues for food banks that accept it. Sen. Kendall Van Dyk, D-Billings, said law-enforcement officers are not qualified to decide whether roadkill is safe to eat.

“Despite it’s good intention, it doesn’t pass the smell test for me,” Van Dyke said.

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