The new Sussex delicacy - road kill
A new craze is slowly coming to Sussex the delights of eating the roadkill slain on its country lanes and highways.
Most drivers do their best to avoid squashed animals lying by the side of the road. But for some people, it is dinner.
Tim Simpson, 34, of Robertson Road, Brighton, and his girlfriend are two of the growing number of people who share a penchant for meat ?a road.
Delicacies range from pheasant to rabbit and pigeon to squirrel, which fans say tastes of nuts. The couple have even ventured to try badger recently.
Mr Simpson, a graphic designer, has been eating road kill since the age of 12, when his father would bring home the odd pheasant. Now the couple enjoy creating interesting dishes to entice their friends over to enjoy.
His girlfriend, Jennifer Lindsey-Clark, 29, was a chef at Terre ?erre restaurant before creating her own cakemaking business, She Bakes.
With their combined passion for cooking, the pair have created some interesting dishes, including a favourite called mixed road kill terrine , which includes venison, rabbit, pheasant and wood pigeon, mixed with a pork and chicken liver p?.
Mr Simpson said their friends have come to terms with the road kill delicacy. He said: They have realised they can eat odd things and they actually taste good. Jen is a chef, so the meals always taste good and no one has turned the food down yet.
The couple find it easiest to spot road kill on busy dual carriageways and motorways. But there are some animals they will not try, including fox, because it is heavily scented, which can affect the taste and quality of the meat.
However, before picking up road kill, there are certain laws to be aware of. It is illegal to run over an animal and then eat it so, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the game animal would belong to the land owner, which would be the Highways Agency. But if the car in front hits the animal, then it is fine for someone else to pick it up and cook.
Mr Simpson said their best find so far was a deer, which produced many meals. However, in order to prepare it, they needed to hang it up for a period of time.
They used their 1970s car ambulance to do this, but it was spotted by a passer-by and they were reported to the RSPCA. They were told by one of the charitys inspectors they had nothing to worry about, as the animal was already dead, so there was no cruelty on their part.
Klare Kennett, from the RSPCA, said: Picking up a dead animal from the road and taking it home to eat is not committing any crime, or indeed any cruelty. As long as that animal was killed accidentally in a road traffic accident, then it is no more cruel than buying meat from a supermarket that has been bred and killed for eating.
But the Food Standards Agency has warned of the dangers of eating road kill. Grace Money, a spokesperson for the agency, said a myriad of things can go wrong, as the animal could contain bugs, parasites or toxins that still may not die when it has been cooked.
She said: Be aware there is a big risk. You dont know what the animal has eaten through its life or what it was exposed to when it died. Our advice would be not to do it.