In Kansas, no excuse to “Taste and See” African lion meat

It is extremely disheartening to see yet another restaurant promoting the consumption of African lion meat in the United States when this majestic creature faces a real threat of extinction in the wild.  

Taste and See restaurant in Wichita, KS has announced Chef Jason Febres’ “Ultimate Dining Experience,” an eight-course menu of exotic meats that he is planning to serve on August 14. In addition to African lion, the proposed meal would include Australian crocodile tenderloin, African water buffalo, Australian kangaroo loin fillets, and African antelope. 

Taste and See is not the first restaurant to pull a stunt like this. In an effort to drum-up business and create publicity for their establishment, restaurants across the United States have either served, or mentioned serving exotic meats, despite severe public objection. 

Boca Tacos y Tequila in Tucson, Arizona experienced severe pushback when they mentioned serving a lion meat taco for their “Exotic Taco Wednesday.”  They promptly decided against such a menu addition due to the community backlash they received against the restaurant. 

Other restaurants in Washington D.C., Chicago and New York have either served or hinted at including lion meat on their menus.  With the exception of The Burger Guru in N.Y., the other restaurants were all forced to remove lion meat from the menus after serious public hostility erupted against the idea.  This public outrage is not surprising, given a recent Synovate poll found that found 63 percent of Americans would no longer frequent an establishment if it served lion meat.

The African lion is currently the only big cat without protections under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, meaning technically selling and eating lion meat is not illegal.  However, with possibly fewer than 30,000 lions remaining in the wild it is important to think about message being sent when an imperiled species is being put on the plate as a novelty.

In response to the dramatic decline of lions in the wild, last year the International Fund for Animal Welfare and a coalition of animal welfare organizations petitioned the U.S. government to list the African lion as an Endangered under the US Endangered Species Act, and if the petition is successful, serving lions would be immediately outlawed in the US. 

While we wait for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make their decision on this endangered species listing, it is our hands to preserve –and respect- the majestic but imperiled African lion. 

We hope Chef Jason Febres will reconsider serving lion meat at his “Ultimate Dining Experience” and that restaurant-goers think again about attending the meal—there is simply is no excuse to taste and see African lion meat.  African lions need to be protected, not included in an exotic meat buffet.

--JF

Outraged about the inclusion of lion meat on the Taste & See menu? Call the Kansas Office of Toruism and let them know.

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