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'Meals under wheels': More states make it legal to eat roadkill

•, By Adam Edelman

You found it on the side of the road and now, in more than two dozen states, you can eat it with a side of potatoes.

At least 27 states have passed legislation allowing drivers to turn their roadkill into their dinner, and lawmakers in many others, including California, are poised to do the same.

"At the end of the day, it just makes sense to put to positive use the animals that were just going to end up decaying and creating problems alongside the road," Oregon state Sen. Bill Hansell, whose bill legalizing the eating of roadkill went into effect earlier this year, told NBC News.

Proponents of laws like Hansell's say the legislation not only provides free meals for those who may want them, but also helps clear the roads of large animals in rural areas where clean-up crews are sparse and contributes to the research of migration, health and disease patterns of wild animals.

Opponents, however, have warned of the risks of diseased meat and worry that legalization efforts could lead to over-eager drivers striking down animals just to get a free steak.

Despite those concerns, many state legislators are hungry to allow drivers to take fresh meat off a car grille and put it on a charcoal grill.

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