Lion Tacos Pulled After Public Outcry

    May 10, 2013
    Amanda Crum

Lion tacos, anyone?

If that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. A Florida restaurant is dealing with some major backlash this week after word got out about their exotic dishes…one in particular.

“Our whole thought process of bringing the exotic meats to the Tampa Bay area was to give people the opportunity to try different things that they normally wouldn’t get to try,” said manager Brad Barnett.

Taco Fusion also serves up meals made with bison, shark, ostrich, gator, gazelle, rabbit, duck, camel and kangaroo. Future menu items will include iguana, bear and zebra. But the lion meat is what has gotten so many people upset, with many sending threatening emails to the restaurant’s owner demanding that he stop selling the dish.

“We have as much right for everybody to try it as you have as much right to say that you don’t like it,” Barnett said. “If you guys are mad now, just wait till you see what we do next.”

With just one lion taco going for arond 35 bucks, one would think the demand would be low enough for the restaurant to discontinue the menu item, but the owner, Ryan Gougeon, says customers are clamoring for the meat. The restaurateurs want everyone to know that it comes from a vendor that raises the cats just for consumption.

“It is not like someone is pulling up in the back with a truck with a carcass from the Serengetti and saying, “Hey I got this meat! Do you want to buy it?” No, it is all from approved sources,” said Barnett.

Still, those in favor of protecting the big animals say it’s just not right. Jeff Kremer with Big Cat Rescue says, “We are hoping they make the humane decision and take it off the menu permanently they are still going to exploit other creatures or sell them for a novelty but you have to draw the line somewhere and the time to speak up is right now.”

KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana