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Is It Wrong to Eat Lion Taco?

Taco Fusion sure knows how to create a roaring controversy, and they ain't lyin'! The Tampa, Florida eatery is offering tacos with (perfectly legal) exotic meats in their "Safari" menu like bison, shark, ostrich, octopus, gator, gazelle, rabbit, duck, camel and even kangaroo. But the "mane" attraction? Lion meat.

And that has got critics pouncing, as ABC Good Morning America reports [self-starting video]:

Since Taco Fusion, a Mexican restaurant known to offer unusual game meats like ostrich, camel, and bison in its tacos, added lion meat to its menu of "Safari Tacos" on May 2, the restaurant has had to field hostile calls from critics who are up in arms over the menu choice.

"[People have been] coming into the establishment and throwing punches," the restaurant's manager Brad Barnett told "Good Morning America." "They say they are going to bomb us, burn us down, blow us up."

"They threatened to kidnap Brad [Barnett] and the owner," another manager, Bayardo Alvarez, told ABC News.

But Taco Fusion is fighting back:

Fast forward to 2013: Paranoia has set in as some folks have had their reality challenged. They say that we’ve “crossed the line” by serving Lion. But let me ask you this, did you cross the line when you ate Beef, chicken, or Pork this week? [...]

How is a cow that is injected with hormones, crammed in a dark pen it’s whole life, and then unceremoniously slaughtered any better than a hormone free- free range animal that was raised for meat consumption? One is “majestic” and the other is overweight? One is a fierce predator, the other is a weak link? What exactly is the criteria for which animal has more importance? [...]

Who decides which animals are worthy? If the argument is that a Lion is “Majestic” so you shouldn’t breed them for meat consumption- then what is the lesson here That only the majestic pretty girls get treated well and the ugly ones go to the slaughter pen? How pompous and idiotic does that sound?

So, what do you think, Neatoramanauts? Is it wrong to eat lions?




Aren't lions considered an endangered, or at least threatened, species? That's my main concern with this, it's like eating tiger or jaguar meat.

I mean, if there was a way to have sustainable, farm-raised lion meat in the same way we can have ostrich or bison, that would be different, but A) they're a large predator, and B) if you've ever heard the phrase "like herding cats", imagine trying to herd a bunch of HUGE cats. Not gonna happen.
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If there's an abundance of lions and they need to be culled, then go for it. I've eaten much cuter animals (like rabbit and squirrel). It really comes down to what the numbers are.
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A) Lions are listed as vulnerable one notch above endangered, but its perfectly legal to hunt them, and if they're hunted we should use everything we can. (according to some reports African lions are down to 30,000 from a high of 200,000 in the 70s and this is mainly shrinkage due to expansion of humans in Africa and of the Chinese using their bits and parts in folk remedies that would normally call for tiger or other exotic and endangered cats/animals.

B) There are no hard facts/studies about eating "apex predators" so what you've always "heard" is wrong @miss cellania

C) As for eating animals, yes there should be no distinction of what type of animal we should be eating based on how it looks or is perceived. With that said most of the animals we do raise for meat consumption are domesticated (to an extent) and are never endangered. I love wild game meat and have hunted and have hunters in my family, which is a regulated and overseen by various agencies. As long as its legal they should be able to sell and we should be able to eat whichever animals we'd like. I just would hope that there were efforts taken to maintain the species we are hunting to that generations down the line can enjoy the same animals we do be to just view them, or to eat them.
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@everyone in particular

Just seems like a bad idea based on the reproduction rates of apex predators. Apex organisms generally take the most in terms of ecological resources to generate and they spawn few offspring. Importantly, the food chain "expects" them to contribute a certain feedback. In their natural system they are generally not shaped by predation. If a trendy, whimsical "why not lions" eatery movement arises, lions are much less "apex" all of a sudden and the Lion part of a massively complex system has a seriously unexpected feedback. The influence of the lion part sends a good wobble into the ecosystem that will shake the general lay of the land (including humans that can't buy their way into a separate existence from their land base; *cough* Africa *cough*) until things equalize into a new pattern. Keep in mind that the land doesn't give a hoot about the way we think things should work.
God forbid it becomes a foodie trend of the western world. Lions would go the way of tuna. (p.s. mind your sushi choices.)

But don't worry - technology will save us...
Lions in battery cages, optimally fed and bred to increase tender lioney muscle parts to serve your taco and your entitled face hole.

FYI, I've been drinking.
I love you all.
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I am glad that there is a plethora of thought going on here! I would also like to include that it has been shown that even if there is a supplier of this legally, this market drives an illegal market in lion products.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005941
It is irresponsible to therefore have lion products on the market and from the commentary from the restaurant owner, he seems to be something of a lummox and prone to irresponsible behaviour.
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the only question is where the lion meat comes from. Just calling it "legal" even if you have papers to somehow back that up (I'd certainly like to understand the legality of procuring lion meat for consumption in the US), are we breeding them for meat? That's weird, but promotes an industry that's less kosher. Maybe if lions are so easy to breed for meat that we can safely eat lion meat in the US, all the poachers should just become lion farmers.

My own thoughts on the subject are - as long as it doesn't actually contain something that makes humans sick when they eat it, I don't care what people eat. Eating a Lion is no more strange then Eating a Cow to me. The only difference being that the Lion is an endangered species, which shouldn't be a candidate for eating. There's plenty of other stuff to eat.
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