Pro Columba Livia (In favour of the rock pigeon)

When we do speak of pigeons, it is mostly as they come to interact with our city lives. Their are accused of being dirty and stupid, not to mention worthless parasites.
Therefore, they are generally disregarded, except for the annoyance they bring. Yet, it only takes a little to figure out that our bond with them goes beyond that; pigeon population control in cities is often effected through more efficent cleaning: in other words, their presence is relative to our own uncleanliness. It is but a simple hypocrisy: the contrast of our personal hygiene with the waste we produce (which is what pigeons feed upon). Pigeons have adapted to live in a hostile environment, living off our trash; they are not vermin*, but more simply a mirror of our own habits.  We are their habitat, and by looking at them you could tell something about us; feeling disgust at a city pigeon would be like shitting on the patio and then complaining it is dirty. As it is, we are refusing the world we are creating by looking the other way.

What is more, pigeon to human illnesses are extremely rare; the only one existing case of pigeon to human avian influenza became an excuse for pharmaceutical companies to sell even more expensive vaccines that, to date, remain unused.

Lastly, they are quite intelligent animals, having been used throughout history as message carriers, even during wartime; when trained to use mirrors, they are able to pass the mirror test, meaning they are one of the few animals with self-recognition capabilities.

* Pigeons do not fulfill the criteria for actual parasites, a parasite being a damaging entity to its host. The actual expenses (on our part) come up when a removal attempt is made, but that, I believe, has nothing to do with parasitism.


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