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The man who ate sperm whale for Christmas

Boyt with a dead polecat, or as he calls it, lunch. Katherine Haddon/AFP/Getty

Arthur Boyt, who has died aged 83, was Britain’s foremost “roadkill enthusiast”, says The Times. His favourite snack was a badger ham sandwich, but he was also partial to “weasel, crow, hedgehog, squirrel, bat and otter”. Dog, too – as long as he couldn’t locate the owner. “Labrador is rather special,” he said. “It has a pleasant taste and flavour that is a bit like lamb.” He was less impressed by rat (too bland) and fox (a “pungent taste” of diesel and onions). Cats, he found, “could be improved with a spoonful of redcurrant jelly”. Like most of us, he “enjoyed a special dish at Christmas”. One year it was a sperm whale that had washed up on the nearby Cornish coast; another year it was dolphin. “As with all meat,” he said, “you just make sure you cook it long and hot enough to kill any bugs.”

Boyt first began eating roadkill aged 13, after finding a dead pheasant while cycling through Windsor Great Park. He developed a love for it because he knew the animals hadn’t been purposely killed, something he was vehemently against. (He never bought meat from the shops.) His second wife, a vegetarian, wasn’t wild about his habit. “Sometimes I use her car,” he said, “and forget that I’ve left a badger in it.” Nor were his employers. When, in retirement, he drove the school bus for Haberdashers’ Aske’s, the parents complained about the stench from a dead fox somewhere in the vehicle. Boyt’s other great passion was orienteering – in 2009, he won bronze at an orienteering competition in Australia. “He celebrated by eating a wallaby, a possum and a parrot.”