Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2013) – Jeffrey Flocken, North American Regional Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement regarding the serving of lion meat at restaurants across the country:
“It is extremely worrisome to see restaurants across the country promoting the sale and consumption of lion meat. The African lion population already faces many obstacles for survival: a restaurant’s choice to serve up lion meat is simply irresponsible.
As we witnessed at eateries Taco Fusion (Tampa, Florida) and Mokutanya Yakitori (Burlingame, California) in the last couple of weeks, and many other establishments over the last few years, customers respond negatively to publicity ploys like novelty meats. Modern history shows that almost every restaurant serving lion meat has pulled it from their menu as a direct result of public backlash. A recent Synovate poll found that 63 percent of Americans would stop frequenting an establishment if it started serving lion meat.
The African lion population has declined by more than 50 percent over the last three decades, and as few as 32,000 remain in the wild. In March 2011 IFAW, along with a coalition of animal welfare organizations, petitioned the U.S. government to list the African lion as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. If listed, serving African lion meat in the U.S. would be illegal.
Restaurants serving lion meat send a message that they promote exploiting endangered animals. It not only alienates their customers, but it undermines conservation of this iconic species which is already fighting to survive. For any restaurants considering serving the meat of this imperiled species, we urge you to reconsider: African lions must be conserved, not consumed.”
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org/bigcatadvocates. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.