+
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.

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

Invite a friend to chime in on this discussion.

Email a Friend

More from Chowhound

Mojo Magic: The Best Cuban Pork (& Cubano Sandwiches) You'll Ever Eat
How To

Mojo Magic: The Best Cuban Pork (& Cubano Sandwiches) You'll Ever Eat

by Arturo Rojas | A great Cubano depends on great pork, and this Cuban pork recipe is just as perfect on its own as...

Liven Up Your Labor Day Veggie Tray with These Unique Dips
Recipe Round-Ups

Liven Up Your Labor Day Veggie Tray with These Unique Dips

by Jen Wheeler | There is absolutely nothing wrong with hummus, guacamole, or even a good store-bought dip (looking...

15 Make-Ahead Labor Day Recipes from Dips to Dessert
Recipe Round-Ups

15 Make-Ahead Labor Day Recipes from Dips to Dessert

by Chowhound Editors | Make-ahead Labor Day recipes ensure that you get to enjoy the party along with everyone else—and that...

15 Labor Day Party Tips to Maximize Fun & Minimize Stress
Entertaining

15 Labor Day Party Tips to Maximize Fun & Minimize Stress

by Jody Eddy | Labor Day is the holiday that brings the long hot days of summer to a close. Say farewell to the season...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.