I was raised in the south, so I know the taste of deer meat. I never liked the taste of deer meat because it would always taste odd and felt weird, so I just grew accustomed to not eating it when we had it. A lot of the deer meat we would get would be from food banks, which would not shockingly have a pretty fair amount of the stuff. But the thought of eating deer that was hit by a car makes me even more nauseous. So when Salon wrote an article claiming that I should eat that cat that was run over by a car the other day near my house, it didn’t make me feel good.
And I don’t want to sound like one of those Extremist Vegans, but I see very little difference in consuming a deer that was hit by a car, and consuming a cat that was hit by a car. And to make it one step further, a human that was hit by a car. I mean, it wasn’t murdered, it was accidentally hit by a car, right?
That aside, I can’t make that argument because I KNOW the psychological differences between the three. I know that society views these three beings as markedly different and very little will change that. But what about the moral repercussions of eating roadkill?
Shockingly enough, PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, stands by this idea, in an FAQ when asked about this, PETA responded:
Eating roadkill is healthier for the consumer than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulants, as most meat is today. It is also more humane in that animals killed on the road were not castrated, dehorned, or debeaked without anesthesia, did not suffer the trauma and misery of transportation in a crowded truck in all weather extremes, and did not hear the screams and smell the fear of the animals ahead of them on the slaughter line. Perhaps the animals never knew what hit them.
And I can see how PETA thinks on this, as compared to factory farming, where animals are routinely tortured, have their beaks burned off, etc, consuming roadkill, where many of the animals die quickly and not on purpose, is more ethical. But… is PETA right that it is healthier?
While you have to be careful, because roadkill can open you up to pathogens like E-coli, and not knowing when the animal died can make you sick via meat spoilage. However, the Missouri Department of Conservation talked about the Roadkill Cafe back in 2012, which offered meat derived from animals found alongside the road, including Skunk. Now the long-term effects of eating animals like raccoon, skunk, and squirrel have not been documented the same way the long-term effects of eating red meat, or eating chicken have been, but according to what I have seen, there is little issue with eating cleaned, healthy-looking, properly prepared game meat.
HOWEVER, eating a vegetarian or at least a plant-based diet is MUCH healthier than consuming most kinds of meat. But if you must consume meat, consuming lean chicken, or certain types of fish, is much healthier than the consumption of red meat, and possibly even roadkill. But if you MUST eat roadkill, here is a good guide about not killing yourself in the process.