Lion burgers are sold in America and are nothing more than a delicacy, but no one knows how this fad could affect the future of feral cats.
Some lions in the US are currently used to make hamburgers. The meat of captive-bred lions has become popular with the US population, appearing in restaurants called “King of the Jungle” and tickling the twisted imagination of diners craving the flesh of a big cat.
One of the first known cases of serving a lion as a dish occurred in 2010, when a restaurant in Arizona served lion meat patties in honor of the South African World Cup. This caused criticism on the one hand, and on the other hand, increased the number of people who wanted to taste the delicious delicacy.
More recently, the lion has featured as an expensive taco topping in Florida, as well as even more expensive meat skewers in California. Various gourmet clubs specifically advertise lion meat as a trend. Animal rights groups in Illinois are currently trying to ban lion meat from state malls where lions are shipped dead and packaged.
The sale and consumption of captive-bred lion meat is completely legal in the US. Shelley Burgess, Head of the U.S. Food, Veterinary and Cosmetics Group, says: “Game meat, including lion meat, may be marketed as long as the animal from which the product is derived is not officially listed as endangered. extinction of species. African cats are not on this list, although conservation groups are currently petitioning for lions to be included.
In fact, they sell meat that is not obtained from wild animals, but from those kept in captivity. It seems that cats are specially bred for meat. Some anecdotal sources suggest that this is the case, but other researchers have found that this is not the case. Animals can come from circuses and zoos. When lions get too old or too naughty for their owners, they get involved with those who are interested in lion meat. Lion burgers, stews, and steaks become a by-product of captive animals.
Those who advertise this product say that it is no worse than eating beef or pork. Some even argue that it is better, as lion meat provides people with an alternative to resource-intensive factory farming.
For example, a Florida restaurant that sparked outrage for selling $35 lion tacos responded on its website: “The paranoids say we’ve ‘crossed the line’ selling lion meat. But let me ask you a question, did you cross the line when you ate beef, chicken or pork this week?”
The main problem is that the lion meat trade encourages a demand that is growing and becoming fashionable, this may affect wild populations as well.
There is no evidence that the obsession with lion meat in the US is related to what happens to wild African lions. And frankly, the amount of lion meat that Americans so enthusiastically consume is nothing more than a drop in the ocean.
But if this risky hobby expands to wider markets, the threat to the existence of lions will increase.
The African lion in many African countries is massively exterminated due to poaching, competition with humans for habitat. Man drove cats from 80% of their former range. Over the past 100 years, their numbers have declined from 200 to less than 000.
There is an illegal market for lion bones used to make supposedly healing wine in Asia. Hundreds of lion carcasses are exported to Asia as a by-product of hunting safaris in South Africa.
There are cultures that prefer wild animals, rather than captive-bred ones, for food. Some Asian countries consider the capture of an exotic trophy a status thing. In 2010, 645 sets of bones were officially exported from South Africa, two-thirds of which went to Asia to make bone wine. Illegal trade is difficult to quantify. Any offer on the market only stimulates demand. Therefore, environmentalists are quite wary of the new fashion. Lions are already considered exotic, powerful and iconic, which is why they are desirable.
As for the health benefits of eating meat, since the lion is a predator, it is a collection of parasites and toxins that can negatively affect human health.
Environmentalists are urging consumers to make informed decisions driven by the need to protect wildlife, not just the call of exotic tastes. The US could well become the second largest legal and illegal consumption of wildlife after China.
Burgers, meatballs, minced tacos, steaks, cuts for stews and skewers – you can enjoy the lion in every way. More and more Americans want to taste lion meat. The consequences of this fashion are very difficult to foresee.