Public outrage led to lion tacos being pulled from the menu of a Florida restaurant this week. Taco Fusion is known for offering a revolving line of exotic meats such as ostrich, rattlesnake, kangaroo, and gazelle depending on availability.
The South Tampa restaurant has served meats not typically offered in American eateries since opening its doors in February. However, it was the recent decision to add lion tacos to the menu that led to controversy. Taco Fusion has now become the target of a severe public backlash, reportedly receiving bomb and death threats this week.
“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,” explained Taco Fusion manager Brad Barnett.
On Thursday, the lion tacos were pulled from the restaurant’s menu following widespread criticism and threats of violence. “We’re getting all kinds of threats over it,” said owner Ryan Gougeon.
“Now we’re getting bomb threats, and everything else,” he explained. “Some guy just called and said he’d kidnap me and grind me up for a taco. There are so many coming in we aren’t counting.”
Selling lion meat as food is currently a legal practice in the United States. Taco Fusion reportedly purchases this particular type of meat from major domestic vendors, primarily in Illinois.
According to Gougeon, the lions were raised on a farm for the sole purpose of human consumption.
After the lion tacos were pulled, a substantially long statement was posted on what appears to be Taco Fusion’s official website. The restaurant vehemently defends its right to sell exotic meat and challenges the reasons behind the current controversy:
“Who decides which animals are worthy? If the argument is that a Lion is ‘Majestic’ so you shouldn’t breed them for meat consumption – then what is the lesson here? That only the majestic pretty girls get treated well and the ugly ones go to the slaughter pen? How pompous and idiotic does that sound?”
The statement also addresses the public’s reaction to the lion tacos:
“You can’t call for diversity, freedom, and choice- and then in the same token turn around and demand censorship, new laws, arrests, and businesses be shut down because you don’t agree with what someone else is LEGALLY doing. This isn’t Cuba; This isn’t North Korea; This isn’t Stalinist Russia; Just remember: This is America, baby.”
[Top image via Wikipedia]