On my way to Golden Words this Sunday afternoon I witnessed something so unimaginable that I had to write about it – a tragedy was occurring on the pathway between Douglas Library and Ontario Hall. I initially thought it was just two seagulls on the sidewalk trying to stay nourished – one of them was picking at a whole-wheat bun. But then I saw what the other seagull was attempting to digest: An entire Tim Hortons™ Crispy Chicken® Patty. A bird eating another fellow bird is essentially a perfect example of zoological cannibalism – and it needs to stop.
Let’s examine how how did this situation may have arisen in the first place. The obvious backstory is that a hungry student purchased a Crispy Chicken® at the Queen’s ARC, took a bite while walking back to residence, decided to open ttwitter for the first time in 4 months, and dropped everything they were holding. But why did two seagulls appear on the scene just moments after this incident? Clearly the Kingston seagulls are also hungry, and due to the nature of the Queen’s campus food chain, are forced to circle the sky in search of discarded edible items. Kingston seagulls have been living a long history of poverty, and it is not easy for the bird’s families to break out of this downward spiral.
Why is what I witnessed so damaging? This is just one of many similar incidents, but this one happened to occur in plain site. Think about all the other episodes that went unseen. A chicken and a gull are both of the endothermic vertebrate variety, meaning they are quite alike. They both have feathers, wings, beaks, and lay eggs. There’s a special kinship between all avian creatures; it is comparable to the relationship between humans and primates. This relationship cannot be elegantly described – one example is the loss for words and unexplainable sadness humans felt when they, as a species, caused the unfortunate death of Harambe. Similarly, a downtrodden seagull unknowingly eating a chicken is simply not okay, and it’s the Queen’s ARC Tim Hortons’ fault. If this behaviour continues, not only will many mental and physical disorders develop in future birds, but the entire class of animal may get wiped out of existence.
The Queen’s ARC Tim Hortons – a Tim Hortons franchise which has a higher GDP than nearby towns such as Napanee, Belleville, Gananoque, Brockville, and Odessa – has a moral responsibility. As the foremost food provider on campus, they need to give back to the ecosystem and ultimately prevent cannibalistic affairs. The problem is not only that Kingston birds have been going hungry for years, it’s that the Tim Hortons staff are letting them eat each other. They need to take a leadership role in the environment, and provide nutritious vegetarian snacks for gulls. They have the resources: have you ever looked at the neglected leftover seeds on the bagel racks behind the counter? The packs of crackers they include when you order soup, which only a third of customers actually ingest? They should be sharing a portion of their resources with the impoverished gulls, instead of causing them to fight over which alpha-gull gets to eat abandoned poultry.
It may take some effort to get this greedy corporation to take notice of this issue. I challenge you, the reader, to take action. Posting a photo on social media is not enough. If you see an act of cannibalism on campus, capture the innocent perpetrator, and let it loose in the lineup of the Queen’s Arc Tim Hortons.