Local taco joint offered lion meat for taco fillings

TAMPA - UPDATE: Restaurant will no longer offer lion on its menu.

PREVIOUS REPORT: A small south Tampa restaurant is causing quite the stir over a unique item offered on their menu: lion.

For $35 dollars taco lovers can try lion, as in, the king of the jungle.

"I thought the lion was good," said patron Lee Weiner. "It didn't taste too gamey to me, similar to steak."

Since Taco Fusion opened in February they have built a reputation for their unconventional taco filings. They have previously offered game like beaver and otter, but the controversy didn't start until lion meat made it's way onto their menu.

"I really don't like that at all," said McKenzie Bremer who opposed the restaurant's decision. "An animal that is almost on the extinct list should not be served at a taco place."

The owners say the lion meat comes from a vendor who raises lions strictly for sale of consumption.

According to Taco Fusion manager, Brad Barnett, the restaurant wanted to offer patrons the change to try different things, though they have seen mixed reactions to the new menu item. The restaurant has seen harsh reactions on social media, some going as far as making harmful threats.

"We have people who just sit on their couch and just want to go online and say things, be hurtful, make threats, said Barnett.

Jeff Kremer, with the Big Cat Rescue that rescues lions and similar large cats, questioned Taco Fusion's decision. "There's a human healthcare concern, there is obviously an animal welfare concern and there is a bigger picture. The bigger concern is where do we, as society, draw the line for what is acceptable for moral and ethical behavior," Kremer stated.

 Barnett offered a simple solution to the controversy, "If you don't like it, don't eat it."


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