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. Cesar

    @Rob: I don't know Rob, sorry.

    January 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Zinkster

    Is it a side dish or a mane course?

    January 21, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. waldo

    ***hi zinkster R U new here it is a mane course becauz it has all the meet hay U wanna play checkers on line. Just tell me ok bye

    January 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tomcat

    open taco place $$$$$....serve lion tacos $$$$.....free advertising......priceless

    January 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Franchise Guy

    WHAT AN OUTRAGE!!!!
    They are profiting .75 cents per taco...thank goodness tortillas are free,rent is free,utilities are free,labor is free.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • burrow

      do your math again=loss≠profit

      January 22, 2011 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. love2bnafrica

    I'd love to know where this "farm" is that raises lions for good in Perris, Calif. Do they have the same conditions for their animals as most places (farms) who raise chickens or cows where they are in tiny pens where they can't move and then stand in their own urine and excrement waiting to be slaughtered. There are humane ways to kill animals for food. I'd like to know the conditions these lions are in and how they are slaughtered. Having been to Africa I'm very aware of the circle of life. But lions? If you ever saw one in the wild you would never eat a lion taco nor any other part of a lion for that matter.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Glenn McCreedy

    Why Arizona,....why?????

    January 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bearclaw Palin

    you hire a helicopter public taxes of course, and if lions are old put a crossmark over them

    January 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nyetwerke

    Why not serve African lion? Because as research has shown, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005941, even in canned hunting situations, it creates the impetus for further exploitation of the species. It also reinforces the Ugly American viewpoint from countries which we have to deal with or will soon have to deal with. I think the American mentality is that it perceives resources as something immense when this is not the truth. Humanity utilizes threatened, yes Panthera leo is threatened and this statement is also backed by current research, species in such a way as to trivialize their importance only at the expense of a later, larger dilemma and only it seems when the threat is hazardous to our well being as a species. I don't know when people are going to wake up and understand that situations such as this have larger consequences but it doesn't seem that foresight is in the forefront yet.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tomcat

    So now there is a Face Book page protesting the owner. What part of "trying to get my name out" did you miss? Well thanks to your rants and raves, this man just got more exposure than even he dreamed of. This place was probably just scraping by. But now his poor wife will be making tacos till the cows (or lions) come home. Do I agree with or would I eat this? Uhhh no....but I do have to say bravo, sir. You had an idea and got what you wanted.

    January 22, 2011 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jones in CO

    I hear it tastes just like tiger

    January 22, 2011 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Cesar

    That's right, just like tiger; as snake tastes just like chicken. Have any of you cooked a pound of beef? You can easily make 15 good size tacos, not only eight.

    January 22, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. dr feelgud

    i like turtles

    January 22, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. drithme

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Cultures like ours have grown desensitized to how our meat gets to us and even what it is. What makes any animal more "worthy" or deserving of life than another? Its cute face? If you're going to put up a fuss about eating lion which, from the sound of it, is actually being farmed and posing no danger to the wild population, you should be protesting about the kangaroo, python, and the ordinary cow tacos there as well.

    January 22, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar

    That's right drithme. Everyday, animals are killed somewhere in the world. People are killed too. This is a wonderful world, but I won't miss the cruelty after I'm dead.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
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