72-year-old Arthur Boyt from Bodmin Moor, England is an unusual man who eats unusual food. His preference in meat leans towards roadkill – the dead animals that lie on the side of highways after being hit by speeding vehicles. This has earned him a bad reputation, but he just considers it a waste to eat anything else.
Over the years, Boyt has taken on the fancy title of ‘Roadkill Connoisseur’. “I am often asked how did this all begin,” he says in an interview. “After 1976, when I was living on my own, I didn’t have to bother with anybody else’s feelings in the matter. The food was there to be bought home and eaten. I would pick up roadkill in those days to bring home, I’m a taxidermist, I skin things and stuff them. And instead of throwing the body away, I decided to start eating them. I think that’s how it came about.” Boyt isn’t queasy about eating a lot of things, including Polecats, whose meat he says has a vile stink. But he’s figured out a way to get rid of the nasty smell – just place the meat under running water for four days, and it’s good to eat for him. He’s eaten badgers and once even a swan, which “tasted like mud.” One of his favorites is Labrador. “It has a pleasant taste and flavor that is a bit like lamb. It turns people off when I say that Labrador is my favorite thing to eat but the point is, I would never kill an animal.” True enough, Boyt is not a wasteful person by nature. “I don’t believe in waste,” he says. “I’m a freegan, I try to eat all my meals for free.”
Boyt keeps a large freezer in his garage, where he stores finds from various ‘roadkill hunts’. In it, you can find all sorts of rare animals and birds like hedgehogs, barn owls, snipes, sparrows, varieties of reptiles, badgers, cats, buzzards and more. “I have occasionally hit an animal myself, by accident,” he admits. “But I never aim to kill an animal. I do my utmost to avoid it. I come across it in my regular or irregular journeys.” Boyt says he doesn’t eat everything that he finds, but there are very few things in his country that he wouldn’t eat, not even bats. He even goes on to comment on cannibalism. “I don’t think it’s for me to make comments about other people being cannibals, but if I were in a situation where there was human flesh available and it might sustain me or others with me, I would have no compunction about eating it, all right?” He hasn’t done it so far though, and when his own cat died Boyt buried it. “I didn’t eat it. Um, if my wife found out, what would I say?”
Mrs. Boyt is a vegetarian. Despite being married for about 10 years, she doesn’t exactly like this sort of thing. “When I first met Sue, I offered to drive her to an orienteering event,” says Mr. Boyt. “I remember jamming on my brakes for a dead pheasant and her expressing slight concern. When I eat roadkill, she tends to take her food upstairs so as to avoid a row.” Miraculously, Boyt says he’s never been ill from eating roadkill. He has been ill from eating food at a buffet, but his beloved roadkill has never let him down so far. “If it’s well cooked, I think there is very little chance of any bugs, bacteria surviving.”
“I certainly think there’s a lot to be said against eating animals that have been killed on my behalf. For animals to be killed so that I can eat them and chuck away what I don’t fancy is a terrible thing. You see people in a restaurant leaving a lot of meat uneaten and that animal has died in vain, in a way, you can say.” Mr. Boyt wants everyone to benefit from the knowledge he has acquired over the years, so he intends to put a book together and is searching for a publisher. I’m not too sure I’ll be reading that book in a hurry, but I do wonder if Mr. Boyt has made any plans for his own body after he has passed, considering how much he hates waste.
Lelabi : Yucks!
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