Texas restaurant to forgo plan to serve lion-meat tacos after threats

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Washington, Jan 26 (ANI): A restaurant in Arizona has decided to give up its plan to serve lion-meat tacos, and cited safety concerns and following threats from angry protestors as the reason.

Boca Tacos y Tequila, a Tucson Tex-Mex joint had in the past served alligator, python and turtle tacos, and it had been planning on selling tacos made from the meat of farm-raised African lions.

"Due to concern for safety of our families, customers, vendors, and friends we will not be selling African Lion Tacos on February 16th, 2011," ABC News quoted Bryan Mazon, the owner as saying.

"We will continue to bring unique and creative menu items, but not at the expense of safety," he stated.

In the week since the restaurant announced its plan, animal rights groups and activists have protested the restaurant's decision to serve lion, a rare but legal delicacy.

When Mazon first announced the promotion, he revealed he had received "more calls to go to hell and drop dead", than actual orders but planned to keep lion on the menu because "there's interest out there".

Mazon had planned to purchase the lion meat from a California farm he said raises the animals for meat.

The announcement sparked online complaints on the restaurant's Facebook page, but some of the protests focused on the erroneous assumption that lions are an endangered species, making lion meat illegal.

"Lions are not endangered," Crawford Allan, regional director for TRAFFIC, the international wildlife trade-monitoring program administered by the World Wildlife Foundation, said.

"When bred in captivity, their meat is allowed to be traded. There are particular operations in the U.S. that are breeding lions, butchering them and selling them for meat," Allan added.

Mazon had planned to serve the lion tacos one night only in February for 8.75 dollars apiece. (ANI)

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