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General Discussion

Are city pigeons safe to eat?

RealMenJulienne | Dec 17, 201103:01 AM     93

"When you look at a pigeon, you might see a dirty, rat-like bird that fouls anything it touches with feathers or feces, but I see a waste-scavenging, protein-generating biomachine.... A food source that lives on our trash that is so reproductively prolific that we can’t kill it off? That’s green tech at its finest! Pigeons are direct waste-to-food converters, like edible protein weeds, that leave droppings that could be used as fertilizer as a bonus." - http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/200...

The author of the article eloquently makes a point which I have always thought about but never been able to put into words. Why don't we eat city pigeons? Most people would never consider it because we see pigeons eating out of trash cans and puddles of vomit but actually, does that not make them the perfect sustainable urban food source? A diet of garbage does not automatically mean foul meat; after all, the pig has served as a human-waste-to-protein recycler for all of history. And where would we be without tasty bottom feeders like shrimp, lobster, and catfish.

I grew up in Indiana, where country dwellers routinely shoot and eat the wild relatives of city pigeons. Roasted simply with some kind of fruit glaze, they are delicious, like a more savory version of chicken thigh. In Beijing where I am now, you can see here and there rooftop hutches where people raise pigeons for meat. I assume these birds have free reign of the city and return at feeding times. They are served fried with shatteringly crisp skin and a dipping bowl of seasoned salt., again, delicious.

Is there an actual reason not to eat city pigeons? Is the meat empirically hazardous aside from the emotional reaction of "it's dirty"? The article doesn't say and I'm curious if anyone here can supply one.

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