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Arizona Restaurant Serving Lion to Attract World Cup Fans

Arizona can't seem to do anything right. First the immigration law, now a restaurant in the state is serving lion. It's all part of an effort to attract soccer fans to come to the restaurant to watch the World Cup.

Il Vinaio in Mesa began serving lion meat burgers last week, despite criticism from animal rights activists and some patrons, like Susan Cooper. "I'm thoroughly disgusted to say the least, she told the Arizona Republic. "A beautiful, exotic creature that should be out in the wild is being killed for someone to eat as a burger."

Restaurant owner Cameron Selogie told the newspaper that the meat comes from a free-range farm in Illinois that is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He said while most people support him, Selogie has received a bomb threat and 150 e-mail messages from protesters. He wrote on his Facebook page:

"Had bomb threats and direct threats to our chef. Seems animal activists favor animals over humans. I've known that for awhile. Ex-girlfriend once told me if there was an animal and a baby in a burning building, she would save the animal... thanks to all our fans... To our protestors thank you for standing up for what you believe in. In the words of Rodney King, 'why can't we all just get along?'"

Lions have a life span of 10 to 14 years and are on listed on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species as vulnerable. Their population worldwide has been reduced by 30 percent over the past two decades. Lions were once found around the African continent but they have become extinct in North Africa, according to African Wildlife Foundation. The World Cup is being held in South Africa, hence the restaurant's scheme.

Il Vinaio is not the first restaurant to serve lion meat. The South Philadelphia Tap Room received international attention in 2008 for serving lion meat. It stopped because of public uproar. And a Tampa called Spoto's Steak Joint, which is known for serving exotic meats, has also offered lion meat.


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