It’s dead, it used to be furry and it’s finding its way onto some Americans’ dinner plates.

Though consuming road kill may seem like a surefire way to induce nausea among most individuals, some people are finding creative ways to turn these highway animal casualties into delectable dishes.

In recent times, there’s been quite an influx of online articles and tutorials that detail the “art” of preparing road kill meals.

Slate magazine recently published one writer’s first experience converting a mangled roadside rabbit into a fine dish. And, step-by-step lessons can be viewed on YouTube.

But is eating it safe?

According to The Feral Forager, a newsletter focusing on natural food consumption, the animal should be avoided if: it smells bad, if its eyes are clouded, if it’s covered in flies, maggots and other insects, or if it’s completely mangled.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s guidelines on game warns that as with any meat, wildlife animals are subject to harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E-coli if not cooked properly.

But in addition to worrying about road kill safety, some states have regulations on its consumption all together.

For instance, in Tennessee, if motorists want to take killed wild animals back to their homes, they must first notify their local wildlife resources agency or any law enforcement officer within a reasonable amount of time.

The People for the Ethical treatment of Animals pushes for individuals to lead vegan lifestyles, and believe eating road kill is a better option over traditional packaged store-bought meat.

“If one must consume animals for food, at least animals in the wild who end up as road kill are able to live their lives free from cages and concrete forests, the kinds of things that packaged animals have to go through,” Adrienne Burke, a spokeswoman for PETA told the AFRO in a recent interview.

According to a 2008 Federal Highway Administration report, an estimated 1 to 2 million collisions occur between vehicles and animals each year. For some people, that could translate into an interesting meal each day.

Gregory Dale

AFRO News Editor