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Lion Tacos Pulled From Florida Restaurant After Public Outcry

Image: Lion Tacos Pulled From Florida Restaurant After Public Outcry

Friday, 10 May 2013 10:02 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The owners of the small South Tampa, Fla. eatery Taco Fusion offered lion meat tacos on their menu since February in an attempt to attract new customers. After widespread criticism, the restaurant decided to discontinue the item on Thursday.

On its website, Taco Fusion explained its reasoning for ending the "Lion Meat Promotion."

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"Greetings all- Thank you all for the feedback regarding the lion meat promotion at Taco Fusion," the website reads," the restaurant wrote. "The lion meat is sold out and we do not plan to carry it again. ... Some of you were supportive, some of you were angry. We listened to everyone and decided to no longer carry Lion . . . Thank you all for your feedback."

The lion tacos went for $35 apiece.

While some enjoyed the promotion, others were disturbed by the offer, considering the lion population is threatened, though not yet endangered.

"I thought the lion was good," patron Lee Weiner told Florida's ABC Action News. "It didn't taste too gamey to me, similar to steak."

In contrast, Tampa resident McKenzie Bremer said she opposed the promotion.

"I really don't like that at all. An animal that is almost on the extinct list should not be served at a taco place," Bremer said.

Since the early 1950s, the lion population in Africa has gone down by 50 percent.

Fewer than 21,000 lions presently remain in Africa, according to Defenders of Wildlife.

The lion meat was purchased from a vendor who raises lions strictly for sale of consumption, according to Taco Fusion's owners.

Big Cat Rescue's Jeff Kremer weighed in on the controversy earlier this week before it was removed from Taco Fusion's menu.

"There's a human healthcare concern, there is obviously an animal welfare concern and there is a bigger picture," Kremer told ABC Action News. "The bigger concern is where do we, as society, draw the line for what is acceptable for moral and ethical behavior."

Taco Fusion manager's Brad Barnett offered a respons to Kremer.

"If you don't like it," Barnett said, "don't eat it."

Taco Fusion offers an array of "premium game meats" on their menu, including: ostrich, gazelle, kangaroo, and rattlesnake.

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