Sure, we get a laugh out of it. But as often as we joke about Uncle Bob eating raccoon he’s scraped off a highway, do we make as many cracks about him hunting animals in the fall for the same reason? Some of us might—but essentially hunting is more socially acceptable than eating animal carcasses left on the side of the road.
And how many people are actually eating road kill because they’re actually hungry? A lot of people honestly cannot afford food these days. Even some of those who can are advocating eating roadside meat—including vegans!—because they believe that this fresh, organic and free food source is a waste if not eaten. (Though, of course, you could argue that other animals often get a meal out of it, too.)
There may be as many as one hundred million or more animals killed in traffic every year. That’s 250,000 a day—enough meals for quite a few families. One vegan couple who has even used deceased bear as a food source explains their first time eating such an animal—a gray fox—in their zine, The Feral Forager. Hardcore vegans, they had no qualms eating an already-deceased animal—as well as making clothing from it. Along with the rest of the people in their collective, they now eat road kill every day.
My main concern would be the sanitation involved; meat is meat. If you’re going to eat pork, why not possum? But the risk of maggots and rot alone make me turn away from the idea. (If you’ve seen Into the Wild, a certain scene might make you feel the same way!)
Is it so different from eating a hamburger? If you’ve read Fast Food Nation or other similar works, you know that meat’s not the most sanitary food to begin with. And honestly, is a deer hit by a motor vehicle any different than the one your uncle shot between the eyes last season? If you would eat the latter, wouldn’t not eating the former be considered wasteful? What do you think—would you, could you, eat dead meat? Its head, its tail, its face, its feet?
Have you ever eaten road kill? Why or why not?