Sign up for our Free email Newsletter
and get all the latest wildlife news!

Browse Old Articles


Florida restaurant puts lion meat on the menu

30/07/2008 14:18:52

Florida restaurant with Lion meat on the menu. Couretsy of Campaign Against Canned Hunting.

A restaurant in Tampa, Florida, has been offering lion meat from South Africa to its customers. It is thought that the lion originated from a ‘lion farm' in South Africa. Is this an industry which Florida restaurant goers would wish to support?

There is little doubt that the patrons of the restaurant will have little idea that by ordering lion meat they are supporting one of the most vicious and destructive industries in the world. Their money will go back along the commercial food chain until it reaches the canned lion breeder in South Africa, enriching him and encouraging his grisly trade. South Africa is the world capital of canned lion breeding and hunting; captive predators, often wild caught, are reared under cruel conditions and then shot for sport, often with bow and arrow. Packs of dogs are sometimes used to force tame, hand reared lions up trees so that bow hunters can have fun shooting arrows into their helpless victim.

Treating lions as livestock like this is cruel. Unlike cattle and sheep, which are mostly raised on the open range and have some natural contentment before they are penned, fattened and slaughtered, lions are predators and often bred in enclosures.

Predators don't usually eat predators
It is not natural, and perhaps even unhealthy, to eat the flesh of predators. There must be good reason why predators do not eat other predators. Lions do not eat other lions even if they fight and kill each other. There are very few reported incidences, if any, of big cats eating each other. There seems little research into why this is the

Response from Jimmy Stewart, chef/owner Spoto's Steak Joint II, Dunedin, Florida.

Lion meat not meant to offend
I had no idea that serving lion would offend so many people. When it was offered to me by one of my suppliers, I was curious myself about how lion would compare to other animals I have prepared for consumption. There was a limited amount available and, as it was the first time I had served it, I posted it on our board so our customers would be aware that they could try it here at Spoto's. We never intended to make it a regular selection on our menu, and all our customers who tried it seemed to be pleased with their selection.

For those who question my judgment for serving lion, I can only reply that I had confirmed that it was handled under government standards, was safe to eat, and that it was not killed illegally. I believed that any who did not want to dine on lion would simply not do so.

In fact, while we were serving lion, we had no complaints whatsoever, so we were surprised to read the letters of those who had read the article about our special offering in your newspaper.

We understand their feeling and hope that, likewise, they will understand our motivation for serving this meat that was already processed and available. We played no part in the killing or processing of the lion and only purchased it after it had been offered in the commercial marketplace.

Therefore, we apologize to any who were offended by our serving lion to our customers and ask them to respect the desire of those who ordered it to do so in our society.

We recognize that there are vegans, vegetarians, non-pork and non-beef eaters and a wide variety of other individuals who object to the eating of various types of animals. Yet, they do respect the right of others to do so, even if it should conflict with their principles. Be assured that at no time did we intend to offend anyone and that we will be more mindful in the future.

case, but there is obviously some innate sense within big cats that they should not eat each other. Yet humans do often eat other species of predator; snakes, crocodiles, many species of fish and even dogs. Perhaps it is just our western pre-conceptions of what is right to eat and what is not, but that is irrelevant. What is relevant is the way that this lion was brought to the table, how it was kept in a farm and how it was killed.

Information provided by:

Chris Mercer
Campaign Against Canned Hunting
South Africa

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

To post a comment you must be logged in.

New user? Register here


Click join and we will email you with your password. You can then sign on and join the discussions right away.