Lion Meat Burger Special

I have a serious question for all of my readers. Do you meat eaters out there care where the meat you consume comes from? This article concerns those living in the United States, but is probably also a world wide concern. In the United States, the USDA is a government organization whose purpose it is to randomly inspect the meat supply to ensure its safety. This is not a criticism of the job they do. Merely pointing out they’re the one’s who strive to protect the American public from bad meat.

I have one more question before I jump into my subject for the day. Is there any certain animal you would absolutely refuse to eat? American’s have a large variety of wild and farm raised game and domestic meat available. Duck, rabbit, deer, quail, chicken, pork, veal, lamb and beef to name a few. Now we can add “cat” to the list. Not available everywhere, thankfully. Today I want to focus on a new menu item in Mesa, Arizona. Lion Burgers. For $21, the diner will receive a lion burger (lion mixed with ground beef), spicy fries and corn on the cob.

Lions in love!
Lions in love – photo By fanz (Flickr)

This meal was the brainchild of Cameron Selogie, owner of il Vanaio restaurant in Mesa, Arizona. The restaurant is well known in the area as an American Wine bistro famous for American, Italian and Greek dishes. World Cup fans can celebrate with an African meal. Lion burgers.

Owner Selogie thought it would be a great promotional idea to celebrate the World Cup in Africa by offering his patrols “lion burgers.” He advertised this in a private newsletter to his regular patrons. He apparently didn’t realize one of his patrons is an animal rights activist. As we read this, Selogie is serving ice water to animal rights activists who are picketing this issue in front of his restaurant. So far his business has received a bomb threat and many threatening letters. The lion burgers are being offered on June 23rd and June 24th as part of the menu.

His side of the story is that he’s not doing anything wrong. Lions are a threatened species but are by no means endangered. His defense is since Africans eat lions, why not offer them in America. Perhaps his mama never taught him that two wrongs don’t make a right.

He also defends the quality of the lion meet, stating the meat comes from a free range lion farm in Illinois. He has also ensured the public that the USDA has inspected the meat for safety before it ever reaches his processing plant.

The first concern (besides the fact eating lion meat is just gross for us cat lovers to comprehend), is the USDA doesn’t inspect lions bred for meat. That falls into the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration(FDA).FDA spokesman Michael Herndon confirmed in an email that lions are only considered “threatened” and not “endangered” and therefore legal to sell and consume. So who REALLY inspected the meat and where did it come from.

Selogie purchased the meat from Gourmet Imports Wild Game owned by Rick Worrilow out of Phoenix, Arizona. Worrilow claims the meat came from a free range farm in Illinois. He didn’t know the name of the farm, but assured the public that the lion meat is government inspected and totally safe for consumers.

This “free range” game meat was quickly traced back to coming from Czimer’s Game and Sea Foods in Chicago, Illinois. As it turns out this is a butcher shop in Chicago. Richard Czimer purchases him meat from an unidentified source who purchases and skins lions. He doesn’t want to name his source as this source offers products (cat meat) that he can sell to other dealers at a huge profit. Lion ribs start at $10 a pound. The meat is just a by product.

When checking into Czimer’s background it was discovered he served jail time in 2003 for selling meat from legally protected tigers and leopards.

His website is located here. He also offers delicacies such as camel cutlets and llama legs. I think it’s sad that Czimer’s business has existed for 93 years and he has lowered himself to selling lion meat. It seems to me the family business has been influenced by greed and the love of the almighty dollar.

I hope my readers find this as sick and repulsive as I do. It unthinkable for me to imagine eating lion meat (lions, tigers and lynx all belong to the cat family) with all varieties of meat constantly being recalled in the United States for one safety violation or another. Since there is so much secrecy in the sources for where the meat really comes from and how it is inspected, I’d be very afraid of food poisoning.

This is a disturbing story but one I felt must be told. It has made worldwide press in the past 24 hours. I had to research several sources to put all of the puzzle pieces together to form the who, what, when where and how. I’ve done my job and informed my readers of this.

The only question I haven’t answered in my own mind is this. WHY would anyone WANT to eat a cat?



Lion Meat Burger Special to Lion Facts

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Lion Meat Burger Special

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Jan 25, 2011 Update Jan 2011
by: Michael

It seems that restaurant owners will do anything to promote their business and in this instance a taco shop in Tucson by the name “Boca Tacos y Tequila” is selling lion tacos.

This is legal because the lion is not endangered – yet. It is currently classified as vulnerable by the Red List.

It just looks wrong to me. It shows a complete disrespect for this magnificent big cat, one of the iconic animals on the planet.

Humans don’t respect nature enough, which is why the planet is being abused and used to destruction.

Michael Avatar

Sep 06, 2010 All living creatures are made of meat
by: Ruth

My sister Babz and I had a set to with 2 meat eaters just recently. One was boasting about how much meat he consumes. He used the old chestnut that if animals weren’t meant to be eaten they wouldn’t be made of meat.I don’t think he was happy to be reminded that he is made of meat too !
After being told his body is a graveyard for dead flesh he retaliated that graveyards are spiritual places and vegetarians are merely stinking compost heaps.The other one cheered him saying he’d got the better of us but I had the last word in that I said I’d rather be a compost heap than a graveyard full of rotting flesh,spiritual place or not !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jul 03, 2010 Selfish humans… At it again!
by: Maggie Sharp

Great article, yet again, Elisa!

Humans disgust me. The mere fact that we eat animals is sick and disturbing as far as I’m concerned. But lions! What the hell is wrong with these people! I hope that everyone who’s ever eaten one of these ‘lion burgers’ ends up being mauled to death by a lion, it’s only fair, right?

That ‘general chrome dome’ who commented on Michael’s page is also included in that!

Jul 01, 2010 Anything For A Thrill
by: Merrily

In my lifetime many animals,birds etc. have become extinct. Now even the Honey Bees are fighting for their survival.
People seem to have a total disregard for wildlife and domestic animals as well. We have become a society that puts me first….always.
We hunt to provide trophies, torture animals that we use for food,we know what is happening, but as a society we simply don’t care.
Everything is here for our profit, or enjoyment. Who cares about tomorrow.
After seeing the videos of slaughter houses showing the terrible treatment of animals my eating habits have changed, of course I am one of the lucky ones who loves fruit,vegetables, beans and nuts, and can enjoy a wholesome meal without meat.
I wonder if there are enough of us who care about the animals to make a difference…..all we can do is try.

Jun 25, 2010 Great work
by: Michael

Great work, Eliza. This shows how quite a lot of people in the US regard wildcat and wild animals generally. It is an extension, for me, of the sport hunting mentality; treating wild animals as things to be used by humans.

There is, though, a massive discussion going on that says that what is the difference between eating beef or chicken etc. and lion? They are all animals.

My answer is that the lion is not a domestic animal, it is not livestock and it is endangered in the wild as are all wild cats really, some more than others.

The mentality required to save the lion from extinction in the future is not to treat it as meat but as a beautiful creature to be admired and preserved for all of us on this planet.

The tiger is more endangered than the lion and some say it is heading for extinction quite soon in the wild (say next 30 years).

Sadly you can buy tiger meat in the USA too and it is for sale in China plus tiger bone wine and other tiger body parts – it is all sick for me.

Here is a horrible example of what I mean:

Tiger Farms – the world’s most popular and revered wild animal reduced to livestock and treated far worse than livestock in the West!

I wrote about lion meat myself some time ago in fact (I just discovered the page!): Lion meat.

Michael Avatar

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