A Pigeon Mom Made Me Consider Vegetarianism
She stared at me eating a boiled egg.
I’m seriously considering Vegetarianism. I’ve never been an avid meat-eater. I’m eating mostly chicken breasts, and sometimes I eat a burger. But internal organs? No way. I can’t. Too hardcore for me.
But, if I do say so myself, I absolutely love chicken. Especially Schnitzel (chicken with breadcrumbs).
It’s one of my favorite foods of all time. I think it’s the breadcrumbs. I just love anything made with them.
But this morning, something happened that had shaken me to my core. Right to the point where I’m now considering Vegetarianism. Also, this isn’t some brainwashing about not eating meat. I haven’t decided yet. I’m just sharing my thoughts with you.
She Made A Home Right Outside Our Window
For the past two weeks, a pigeon had made a nest to herself right outside of my kitchen window. I have a small flower box outside, and it seemed like a cozy enough place for her, I guess. We decided not to chase her away.
The days had passed, and we saw eggs. Right, great. Congrats, pigeon mom!
Whenever my dad would have come close to the kitchen sink, she would run away. We didn’t believe the eggs would stay long if she’s always running away and leaving them alone. We also don’t open that side of the window very much, and it’s usually open up instead of sideways.
My mom said once, “She doesn’t go away when I’m working here at the kitchen.”
And I answered, “Maybe she knows you’re a mom, too.” My mom laughed at that. I had no idea how much that sentence had shaped what I’m feeling right now.
The Judging Stare Changed Everything
Today, I woke up and did my usual Friday stuff. I came to the kitchen and saw my mom had left boiled eggs, so I took one, peeled it off right there at the kitchen. I know, eating while standing is bad, but I wasn’t thinking about making a full-blown breakfast. I wasn’t too hungry yet.
I shifted my eyes after the first or second bite and locked gaze with the bird looking straight at me. Now, it’s kind of hard to know a pigeon is looking at you, but her beak was tilted towards me. At the time, it felt as though she looked at me in horror. A mother was looking at someone eating a potential child.
Then she flew away, and I came close to see her eggs. But there were no eggs. Not anymore.
There were small pigeon babies, and I felt sick. I was eating an egg right in front of a bird whose babies just hatched from eggs.
Something broke within me. This moment felt, at the time, a bit cruel to me. Instinctively, a question had risen in my mind: Do birds feel emotion? And, well, if crows have anything to say about it, then yes, birds feel emotions.
Why did it pop up all of a sudden now? Why not consider this for years before that moment? Well, There’s a great answer to that question: We’re oblivious to what we can’t see. We feel bad when we see someone hurt. But, eating an egg or cheese or chicken breast does not trigger any pain. On the contrary, food releases dopamine that makes us feel good to the point of addiction.
I’m More Conscious About Food
Mama pigeon may not have tipped the scale for me, but she did make me more self-aware to what I put in my mouth.
I may not wholly reject meat, but I do feel like I want to eat less than what I usually had been eating. Maybe find more protein replacements. I want to diversify my food to include more plant-based ingredients.
It’s that time where I’m aware of something going on in my life that may change how I live them. I have some friends who don’t eat meat. Some from medical reasons, some from ethical reasons. I am not afraid that I won’t have anything to eat. I can see that is not the case.
It’s not like I’m feeling guilty for any bite I take from meat now. But I do feel that something is different. That chicken breast I’m eating used to be a living breathing chicken. That egg is a child who will never see the light of day. Granted, most eggs we eat have not been fertilized by males anyway so they won’t become chicks even if we did not eat them.
No matter what I decide in the future, Mama Pigeon left a mark and some food for thought, and for that, I’m grateful.
Oren Cohen is a Software Development Engineer, Gamer, Geek, and Writer. He is writing in all sorts of topics on Medium, though his passion lies with Fantasy and Video Games.