A friend of mine had a car accident where he hit a whitetail. Sadly it died instantly. This made me wonder if someone is going to check if the roadkill can still be eaten. Maybe not for humans but dog food etc. So, if roadkill is found to be safe to eat, is it further processed in the EU? Or the other way around, is roadkill always dumped?

Edit: I'm not asking for specific cases where people just don't bother eating roadkill. Like for example in Germany you always have to call the appropriated hunter. He kills the animal or makes sure that it is dead. If that guy kills it and thinks: "Seems pretty intact to me. Who cares, I'm taking it with me.", it is not instance of this question! I'm asking whether there is an official process by law or other rule-set. A process similar to this (just an analogy):

  • Driver calls police
  • Driver calls hunter
  • Police makes insurance stuff etc.
  • Hunter takes care of the animal
  • Hunter calls the check-roadkill-authority
  • Check-roadkill-authority adjudged the meat as process-able
  • Check-roadkill-authority calls the process-roadkill-authority
  • Process-roadkill-authority brings meat to dog-food-factory
  • 2
    Roadkill, in the UK, tends to be a pick up and eat kind of thing - not something you'd buy. Mostly it's picked up by scavenging animals. Running and animal down and then collecting the remains in the UK is classed as hunting and is illegal - picking up something you just saw hit by another driver is acceptable.
    – Aravona
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 8:39
  • Purely an anecdotal aside: I've heard that roadkill meat has a foul taste because of the massive trauma, bruising, etc, associated with the impact.
    – Lumberjack
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 13:36
  • @Lumberjack surely it would depend on the injury. In particular how long it all takes and the effects (if any) on some of the organs
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 15:59
  • A fun fact that roadkill around the Woburn Safari Park area of the UK (especially deer and pheasants on it's own driveway) get fed to the animals there :)
    – Aravona
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 9:09

2 Answers 2


To ask about EU would require one answer per participating country. So I'll answer for the UK and Finland.

UK: Yes, you can - so long as you didn't intentionally kill the animal.

Road kill

For protected animals - like most wild birds - it's still legal. But, if you were ever questioned, you'd have to prove that you weren't the one who killed it. In other words, you're guilty until proven innocent.

Who, What, Why: Is it legal to eat wild birds?

In Finland, roadkill is strictly off-limits. They fear tapeworms, eaten by pets or by those who kill the animal, and other diseases (eg, African swine flu). Here, you're supposed to bury the animal.

Luonnonvaraiset eläimet (Finnish)

(I hope you can read Finnish?)

Well, I know you didn't ask about the US, but here is an interesting book on the subject in the US, Flattened Fauna. I'm still laughing at the name, so, in retaliation, I'm including this link as well. Maybe there's some info in there you might find useful. :-)

Flattened Fauna, Revised: A Field Guide to Common Animals of Roads, Streets, and Highways


You might want to read this article by someone who actually eats roadkill. I've also known a few people who check to see if deer, pheasants etc. are still OK (they get scavenged pretty quickly so if reasonably intact they're probably quite fresh). In that regard it's like eating game - you don't know for certain that the animal wasn't diseased.

When picked up by the council for disposal, you can assume they go to landfill - the same crew pick up other debris in the same truck and even if they did sort it, what would they do with it? Food waste including meat scraps goes to anaerobic digesters in some places, but at least where we live that don't want raw bones in there.

The only places I know of making regular reuse of roadkill do it to feed scavengers - vultures in Spain, and black bear in Canada.

  • Thanks, you've some quite interesting information in your answer. However, it lacks of citation. I really need a canonical, "official" answer. =)
    – OddDeer
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 7:24
  • @OddDeer there isn't going to be a Europe-wide answer. Hunting and related laws vary wildly. I could probably find a citation for the second paragraph for one small part of the UK - even within a single country approaches differ. I don't think your edited question is answerable.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 7:34

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