Couple reveals bizarre plan to eat nothing but roadkill on Christmas Day
Christmas really is a stressful time of the year, and there are few things more aggravating than organising the big Christmas dinner. I've cooked Christmas dinner for eight people before, and I can honestly say that it's a miracle that I didn't have a nervous breakdown over that one meal. Even though I managed to screw things up (the gammon we were dining on needed an extra half hour in the oven) the most annoying thing about it was the cost. Seriously, all those ingredients didn't come cheap: especially the ham, turkey and pork sausages we gorged ourselves on.
However, over in Devonshire in England, one foraging former slaughterhouse worker has vowed to cook the entirety of his festive dinner this year using choice morsels taken from roadkill. Despite being branded a “serial killer” by his girlfriend’s family, 41-year-old Jim Alexander is determined not to see any meat from dead animals go to waste, and has spent the last few weeks diligently gathering wild carcasses that he finds on his travels; gutting and skinning them when he gets home and storing the tender flesh in his freezer units. Conscientious, or downright creepy?
Commenting on his curious culinary habit in a recent interview, Jim stated:
"I know people will think it’s unusual but really it just makes sense ... I do it because I can’t stand to see the waste of life, and by taking the animals home and eating them I’m at least somehow reducing that waste ... I only really go to the shop now for things that I can’t find outside like toothpaste and shower gel."
"Badger tastes very similar to pork, but fox has its own taste, which isn’t particularly nice, so I usually try and mask it with a sauce or jerky. I was quite interested to try them because I know in the past people have eaten those kind of animals. But they gave off a pretty terrible smell, because of all the bad things they eat and even my dog had to leave the kitchen ... I have so much meat that I have to store it in freezers ... It saves me a lot of money and it certainly keeps my dog happy!"
"Working odd jobs around Devon I would drive along the narrow country lanes in my van and often see animals lying by the roads. Picking up roadkill isn’t illegal in Britain like it is in other places around the world, so sometimes I’d stop and pick something up if it still looked fresh. A few times a police car has pulled over while I’ve been by the side of the road lifting a carcass into my van ... But once they realise I’m doing nothing wrong they are fine."
Indeed, although it might sound little bit grisly, Jim is adamant that this practice is safe, and above all, clean.
"All the meat I find and eat is just as hygienic as the food you would get in a supermarket," he claims. "There are certain things you have to look out for to make sure it is OK to eat – for example if the collision punctures the gut then it spoils the meat. But otherwise it is nearly always fine, and you can cut away the parts of the animal that were damaged in the crash ... Having worked in a slaughterhouse for so long I just got sick of the killing that goes on in the meat industry."
So what are Jim's top tips for people looking to eat roadkill? First of all, give the carcass a sniff; if it gives off a foul odour then that's a pretty obvious hint that it shouldn't be eaten. Next check the animal's eyes. If they're cloudy then it could have an infection or a disease. See if there are any fleas in the animal's fur; this means that the body is warm and meat is fresh. Finally, ensure that the gut hasn't been punctured, which would result in digestive fluids and excrement spoiling the meat.
Although I don't think I'll personally be dining on roadkill in the near future, I have to admit that I do think that Jim has the moral high ground on this one. After all, is eating an animal that's already dead really as reprehensible as killing it in an abattoir? To be honest, I'm not so sure.