Arizona restaurant catching flak over plan to serve lion tacos
An Arizona restaurateur has unleashed a storm of criticism for his plan to serve lion tacos next month.
January 21st, 2011
04:31 PM ET

Arizona restaurant catching flak over plan to serve lion tacos

Lion tacos.

Lion tacos?

Sorry, it’s tough to write this piece because I keep getting hung up on the juxtaposition of those two words. It sounds like something out “The Freshman.”

According to the Arizona Daily Star, a Tucson eatery will be serving up the kingly dish for one of its weekly exotic taco nights. Past efforts have included python, elk, kangaroo and turtle, the paper reported.

Give credit to owner Bryan Mazon, who was more than frank when asked the reasoning behind his decision to put the majestic animal on a tortilla.

“I'm doing the African lion to get my name out,” he said. “I've never tried it myself, but this one really caught my eye.”

Well, Mr. Mazon, judging from your Facebook page, it caught the eye of a few other folks.

While there were messages of support and others asking whether Mazon would be willing to ship orders of tacos out of state, plenty of people were downright ticked.

“What did you want? attention? congratulations, i know you. i also know who hitler, ted bundy, and michael vick are,” wrote poster Tricia Rider Kachymers.

A post from Jon Ailetcher was markedly harsher: “[Expletive]. Nothing but a way to get promotion you [expletive] [expletive]. Way to help kill the animal kingdom. [EXPLETIVE] YOU!!!”

The Daily Mail in London reported that National Wildlife Humane Society President Patrick Webb wrote Mazon, saying, “I realize this is a publicity effort, and will not result in profitability in serving lion, but sometimes no amount of publicity is worth the potential negative effects on vulnerable species.”

The lion tacos will be available February 16, wedged between Tequila Tuesday and Dollar Beer Thursday.

They will cost $8.75 apiece, Mazon told the Daily Star, explaining that a pound of ground lion will run you about $100. The meat comes from a farm in Perris, California, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

His wife, the chef at Boca Tacos y Tequila, will make about eight tacos per pound.

I know what you’re wondering. It's the same thing I’ve been asked by a few of my colleagues in the past hour: Is this [expletive] legal?

Interestingly, Mazon told the Daily Star that he got the idea last year when a restaurant announced that it was going to serve lion burgers for the World Cup, held in South Africa.

Our pals over at CNNMoney covered that one and reached out at the time to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, whose spokesman said that African lion is not a federally protected endangered species and that it qualifies as game meat.

I’m not sure if it’s surprising that the lion burger joint was in Mesa, about 100 miles northwest of Tucson, but I’m starting to get the impression that Arizonans have some wacky culinary tastes. How about you?

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Filed under: Animals • Arizona • Facebook • Food
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. yup

    I'd eat one!

    January 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ps

      You are already a retarded person to even think about having an animal on the brink of extinction as a meal! I hope you get indigestion!

      January 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Who cares

      Ps. If you read a little closer you will see they are farm raised in California, just like cows and chickens. Just because you think one animal is more important than another doesn't mean the rest of the world has to suffer the same delusions as you do. Nobody is hunting will lions to stuff in a taco. Dolt

      January 31, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    So ironic and hard to picture, but now the lion is the dinner, and expensive as caviar too.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tony

    Key question missed: was the lion going to be killed anyway? Was the meat going to be thrown away or buried? I'm sorry, but throughout the world, animals are a key source of food no matter how cute and cuddly they are. In the US where food is easy to obtain, we have taken the high road of what we decide is worth eating, and what is too cute to eat. This is the reason horse meat is banned in the US – forcing owners without money to starve their horses since they can't afford to put them down and are not allowed to just shoot them. It's sad, but if the lion was going to die or be put down then this is a stupid but legal way to get attention. Just saying.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. HernandezUSA

    If this is LEGAL, then this reporter needs to shut up......no one is making ANYONE eat it, especially at those prices..

    Lets get real why this reports is mentioning this topic..........."AZ"

    This reporter has a "BEEF" with "AZ" and so it taking a Liberal POT SHOT at trying serve up AZ in a Taco.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eliott C. McLaughlin

      Hi HernandezUSA, how did you arrive at that conclusion? I love Arizona. Just got back from a trip to Phoenix last week. It was for pleasure, not work. No one is taking shots at Arizona. I just thought it was a noteworthy coincidence that two eateries there served lion. Politics, I assure you, was not a consideration. Thanks for reading and commenting, though! Keep 'em coming!

      January 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brutus

    The lions are grown on a farm, so eating them does not threaten the lion population. In fact, it makes lion farming more profitable, making it less likely that lions will go extinct. But my question is, who's going to try busting lions at the rodeo?

    January 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jack

    OMG I thought Chinese people would that! Oh perfect Americans would that too. Sin is Sin.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      And what sin is that?

      January 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • RS

      Would what? I can't say that I can understand your sentences without verbs. Please try to use them in the future, they help with the whole speaking/writing/comprehension thing.

      January 24, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cesar

    Speaking of eating and Jack-I eat at Jack in the Box.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DoopyDoop

    Sounds tasty! As long as it doesn't come with Wolf Creed on the side! Now that's yuck!

    January 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Veganistic

    You're right Tony. This is no worse than eating any other animal. The only reason we dont eat dog in this country is because were used to having them as pets and not for dinner, while you go to india and they are more comfortable eating a dog than a cow. That said, i think its wrong and unnecessary for any developed country to eat animals at all.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • tomcat

      Oh please. Who do you think grows most of the vegetables eaten in the US? And using your logic, vegetables are living things. Who are you to say that a fruit or vegetable feels no pain. They too go through a life cycle like us, They are "born" from a seed, grow to maturity, get old and then die.....I for one am a "Cereal Killer"

      January 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • ps

      Who said Indians are more comfortable eating a dog than a cow? Leave your little village and travel to India. May be you will learn something!

      January 31, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Walter

    In the Tortilla of Life
    It's the wheel of fortune
    It's the leap of faith
    It's the band of hope
    Till we find our place
    On the path unwinding
    In the Tortilla, the Tortilla of Life...

    January 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. tomcat

    Where do you think exotic game that is on menus comes from? And if you think that the beef, pork and chicken you eat came from Old McDonalds farm, check again.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cesar

    @Walter: The tortilla of life? Are you a decendent of William Shakespeare or Edgar Allen Pole? I see such a remarkable innate gift in your writing. I am in the presence of Greatness!

    January 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cesar

    Cereal Killer? You kill Captain Crunch, or the Fruit Loops Bird??

    January 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PETA PETE

    WHAT AN OUTRAGE !!!!
    give me two with cheese

    January 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Amy

    So it's okay to kill and eat " python, elk, kangaroo and turtle", but not lion? Wow, people can be real hypocrites! I guess the uglier animals don't matter to them? I care about animals, but I still eat them. I'm an equal opportunity carnivore.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
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