A lion’s share: humans’ taste for the exotic

Most of meat people eat comes from pigs, cows, birds or fish. Almost all of these animals are herbivores. People rarely consume carnivores, and when they do, it’s almost never a mammal.

A lion-meat patty is shown at Il Vinaio Restaurant in Mesa, Arizona, in a 2010 picture. Photograph by Matt York, AP

A lion-meat patty is shown at Il Vinaio Restaurant in Mesa, Arizona, in a 2010 picture. Photograph by Matt York, AP

However, some restaurants are serving something a little different. One of the meals on the menu is a lion-meat patty.

Illinois State Representative Luis Arroyo wants to ban lion meat from the state with his Lion Meat Act. This would make it illegal for any person to breed, own, import or export a lion to later kill them for food.

He believes there are at least two places in Illinois where people can purchase this kind of meat.

In a National Geographic article, the owner of Czimer’s Game and Sea Foods Inc., Richard Czimer, said he thinks Arroyo is discriminating against people who are interested in trying new types of food. He said last year he only purchased a couple lions for their meat, where as hundreds of thousands of cattle are killed every day.

However, based on studies, eating carnivore meat is not necessarily good for humans. Big cats eat a wide range of animals, so they could easily pick up diseases and parasites that could later be passed on to a human consumer.

Not only are many big cat species declining in numbers, but many are concerned that if this becomes a regular item on menus, the black market for big-cat parts could skyrocket.

Allowing lion meat to become a popular dish could increase the demand for lions in the black market. Photo from animals.nationalgeographic.com

Allowing lion meat to become a popular dish could increase the demand for lions in the black market.
Photo from animals.nationalgeographic.com.

Other exotic meats on menus around the world include iguanas, black bear, llama, camel, emu, yak and snapping turtle. These are not endangered creatures and it is legal to buy them for meat.

But, some humans do have a taste for endangered animals, like the great apes in West and Central Africa, the surgeon fish, freshwater turtles and tortoises in Asia, Asiatic black bears, tigers, marine turtles and some whales.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: