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Entries in Montana (2)

Thursday
Feb212013

Montana to Legalize Roadkill Dining? How Safe Is It?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HELENA, Mont.) -- By passing a bill last week that allows motorists to eat their roadkill, the Montana House of Representatives may be on their way to legalizing the ultimate drive-through experience.

State Rep. Steve Lavin originally introduced the bill into Montana's House to allow "game animals, fur-bearing animals, migratory game birds and upland game birds" who have been killed by a car to be harvested for food.

"This includes deer, elk, moose and antelope, the animals with the most meat," said Lavin.

Lavin said that in his "day job" as a state trooper he sees a ton of animals hit on Montana's roadways that could potentially be repurposed to provide meat for people in need.  State troopers already alert food banks to viable bumper banquets.  This bill would simply make the practice legal.

If passed, Lavin said the law would explicitly exclude species such as big horn sheep and bear over concerns there would be profiteering from horns, claws and other body parts collectors covet.  He added that it certainly wouldn't apply to situations like "finding a dead squirrel in the middle of the road" either.

Collisions between vehicles and animals are a serious problem in rural states like Montana.  In 2011, the last year statistics were available, the Montana Department of Transportation reported a little over 1,900 wild animal-vehicle crashes.  Considering nearly 7,000 carcasses were collected from the side of road that same year, it seems likely that many such accidents go unreported.

It's worth noting that Montana is not the first state to pass this type of law.  Colorado, Illinois and Indiana are among states that currently allow motorists the privilege of salvaging roadkill under certain circumstances.

So how safe it is to eat roadkill?

"The risk is relative depending on the condition of the animal and how it was killed," said Benjamin Chapman, a food safety specialist with North Carolina State University.  "In roadkill if you happen upon the animal, you don't know its condition, which makes it riskier than eating regulated food or an animal you've hunted."

Even before you put fork to antler, there are safety concerns.  Just hauling a carcass away can expose you to all sorts of pathogens that can make you sick, Chapman warned.

Lavin said he had never eaten roadkill himself but had no misgivings about offering the run-over meat to those who can use it -- though for safety's sake, he advised anyone pondering these "meals under wheels" to take air temperature and the length of time the animal has been lying on the road into consideration.

Should you decide that flattened moose is what's for dinner, Chapman advised using a meat thermometer and cooking large game to a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  When dressing the carcass, keep it away from other foods, scrub work surfaces with bleach afterward, and wash hands thoroughly.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct042012

Father in Iraq Watches Birth of Twins Via Skype

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WHITEFISH, Mont.) -- No mountain was high enough, no river was wide enough, and no valley was low enough to keep one Montana man from watching the birth of his baby twins on Sept. 25 at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish, Mont.

Jon Zimbelman, 31, Skyped with his wife, Erin, all the way from Basrah, Iraq, where he works as a contractor in the private sector, to watch the delivery of his now-2-week-old twins, Braylon and Brielle.

Erin Zimbelman, 32, of Kalispell, Mont., was worried the hospital might not allow the Skype session to occur, but got the final approval just in time for the babies to arrive.

“I just told him, go get to hard line, go to your office, be ready,” Zimbelman told ABC News.

Because Zimbelman was giving birth to twins, the delivery had to take place in the operating room, where Internet connections are not normally allowed. The anesthesiologist had the final say, and he eventually agreed to allow the iPad in the room.

Zimbelman said she’s gotten nothing but positive feedback about the experience.

“I hope other people will be able to do it, or that hospitals won’t say ‘no’ right away. That was my main concern. No one gave me an answer until the day of, a couple hours before we were doing it all, so it was really nerve-racking,” Zimbelman said.

But the pregnancy also had its complications.

Zimbelman’s mother unexpectedly passed away on July 6, so he used the one trip allowed to him to return home for her funeral.

“My husband’s mom died and so he had to come home for that instead of coming home for the birth,” Zimbelman said. “He had visa entry issues. It was only a one-entry visa.”

So she had to come up with a plan B for him to still be there for the babies.

“I haven’t heard of anybody doing it,” Zimbelman said. “I don’t know if I’m the first or whatnot. But I had to come up with plan B.”

The hospital, knowing she’d need extra help pulling off the Skyping idea, allowed Zimbelman’s friend in the delivery room.

“He got to the see the babies before me, so he was excited,” said Zimbelman. “My girlfriend held up the iPad so he could watch everything that was going on. He said it was life-changing for him. A couple years ago, this would be impossible.”

Zimbelman was worried about the Internet connection working properly because, “Usually Iraq has pretty bad Internet connection, but it was flawless the whole way through.”

The babies are now happy and healthy, but still awaiting their first meeting in person with their father. Hopefully, he can make it home for the holidays.

“They’re doing great,” Zimbelman said. “They are the best babies. They’re sleeping good and are just precious.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio