Animal rights advocates are roaring about it. But since this is simply a cultural homage to South Africa, isn't it racist to complain?
People are feeling the World Cup fever all over the globe. The South Africa tournament has captivated fans, and now a Mesa restaurant is paying homage to the host country with a special menu item. But by offering that item, the owner has received threats.
Cameron Selogie is selling burgers made from lion meat, starting Wednesday at Il Vinaio in Mesa.
The big cat is not illegal to eat in the U.S., and the African lions used to make the burgers were actually raised on a free-range animal farm in the Midwest.
"We have access to some really exotic meats that are USDA-approved. One of the ones that raised eyebrows was lion. And we've had quite a few customers asking us off the cuff, when are we going to serve some lion," says Selogie, owner of Il Vinaio.
Dr. Grey Stafford with the World Wildlife Zoo says that serving a threatened species sends the wrong message. "Of all the plentiful things to eat in this country, for someone to request that or to offer that... I was rather stunned," says Stafford.
"In Africa, they do eat lions. So I assume if it's ok for Africans to eat lion then it should be ok for us," says Selogie.