Regarding Shintaro Okuno’s Jan. 16 letter, ““: I’ve researched the topic of animal deaths on public highways and discovered how horrific the carnage is in the United States. More than 400 million animals and birds are killed on American roads and highways annually! Such figures aren’t considered any cause for concern. Some folks even joke about “roadkill.” You can find a roadkill calendar, a roadkill recipe cookbook and even roadkill toys. Animals also suffer from the pollution that cars spill into the atmosphere, just like humans.
In 1993-94, for example, there were an estimated 500,000 deer in the state of Ohio. During the same period, there were 25,636 reported deer kills on the roads, or about one in 20 deer. Replacing 20 cars with one bus, or 50 trucks with one train, would greatly reduce the number of such deaths, but politicians and the American public think of roadkill as a normal part of modern transportation.
The 6.4 million kilometers of highways and roads in America have fragmented or destroyed once-vast wildlife habitats. Even the roads in national parks fail to protect the unwary forest denizen. When the wide interstate highways were completed in Michigan some years ago, there was a fivefold increase in the number of deer killed on the roads each year. Basically we don’t give a tinker’s damn about wildlife. Another inconvenient truth.
I’ll continue stopping my car in summer to help the occasional turtle cross the road. Every day in the land of the Ozarks I see fresh roadkill. Deer roadkill is the most upsetting, but dogs and other critters are common enough, too. Yes, you can most likely buy a roadkill cookbook in the Ozarks: How do you like your smashed armadillo, fried or baked?
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