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Lion Meat Controversy in Arizona, Philly & the World

Our friends at Phillyist highlighted a Grub Street post about a controversy over lion tacos in Arizona and a similar proposition recently in Philly.  This scandal of putting lion on the menu ended a chef’s meeting his end (pun intended) at South Philly Tap Room.

Somehow, I missed this controversy back in September 2008, but started researching how this debacle even happened.  Right around the World Cup this year, an Arizona Chef attempted selling lion burgers from a “free-range farm” in Illinois. However, CNN Money & other big wigs decided to investigate this farm – it was instead a company called “Czimer’s Game & Sea Foods” which specializes in “exotic meat”… This  butcher shop’s owner previously served a 6-month prison sentence for selling meat from federally protected tigers & leopards. A lot of these restaurants claim they’re doing it for PR – however, I’m assuming the amount of threats from disgusted citizens outweighed the benefits.

If this story can get worse, apparently the African lion isn’t a federally protected endangered species, qualifying it as game meat. As far as I can tell, it’s not “illegal”… (but if you ask for my opinion, these individuals morally should end up in jail fo’ life, sans parole.)

Considering lions, polar bears and many major species are endangered due to human-related causes– climate change, human population growth & agricultural expansion, hunting and poisoning by ranchers, it’s beyond disturbing to think that people can just start promoting “lion burgers” or “lion taco” for a quick profit.  Further, lions aren’t ‘raised’ for consumption anywhere, unlike cows, pigs & chickens in the US.

Readers, who do you think should monitor what’s on a menu?  Should it fall in the government’s realm, or should this be possible in the USA?  Were you even aware of this story?

Posted by Julie

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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