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. Azrael

    While I don't think I could eat one I also fail to see the controversy about it. Do all the people objecting to this not eat beef, pork or chicken? These are all living animals that are rasied to be nothing more at the end then dinner for us. The Lion involved here isn't from some poacher in Africa hunting them but from a farm that raises them with things like food in mind. All legal and no more reprehensible than eating any other farm raised slaughtered animal.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Where does it stop??

      January 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azrael

      @Lee do you eat meat or are you vegitarian/vegan? As to where does it stop, well in that case where does not eating something stop, you do realize plants are living beings right? No one on here I hope would say that eating human children is ok but we are in fact omnivorous and if the animal isn't protected and is farm raised for food in mind whats the problem?

      January 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bart Simpson

      Vegans aren't right in the head anyways... thats an unusual lifestyle... they just want attention...

      December 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bigcatrescue

    Why is it that no reporter can ever actually locate the U.S. facilities who are "farming" lions for these exploitative purposes? I think the more likely supply of lions is coming from those who breed cubs incessantly to fuel the demand for petting and playing sessions in malls, fairs and flea markets. They can only be used between 8-12 weeks according to USDA and then after that have no legitimate nor profitable use, other than to end up as the meat for a PR stunt. AnimalAbuse dot com lists a lot of likely providers.

    January 23, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Lee

    Most of these comments here are a disgusting display of human ignorance and lack of compassion! What's next on the menu.for you.... your own children?? Grow up and grow a heart!!!!

    January 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stephen

    MR MAZON on toast, anyone?

    January 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bart Simpson

    Cowabunga Dude!!

    December 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bart Simpson

    Eat my shorts!

    December 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
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