The “roadkill bill,” (Senate Bill 395) which goes into effect in 2022, will allow people to salvage and eat animals they unintentionally hit or find on the road in the state, KCAL-TV reported.
Those wanting to eat the roadkill would need to obtain a salvage permit in exchange for information about the animal, where and how it was killed in an effort to eliminate waste of carcasses and to better understand how to make roads safer for drivers and animals.
“When you look at the statistics, the number of injuries and accidents and fatalities, it’s about time,” State Sen. Bob Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera, said, according to KCAL. “If we can save one life, save one animal, I think we’ve done the right thing here."
University of California, Davis estimates 20,000 deer are killed on California roadways each year, but no department officially tracks the numbers, The Mercury News reported.
“We desperately need systematic data reporting on vehicle collisions with wildlife in California, and CalTrans isn’t going to do it unless directed to by statute,” Brian Nowicki with the Center for Biological Diversity, said, according to The Mercury News.
Under the law, if the animal is still alive the Department of Fish and Wildlife will decide whether or not to put it down.
Opponents of the bill say that it could lead to some drivers purposefully striking animals in the road.
Eating roadkill is currently illegal under state law and “unlawful possession of wildlife” could carry a $6,000 fine and six months in jail, although it is rarely cited, KQED reported.