WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Wichita restaurant has pulled lion from a special menu it is offering at a one-night-only dinner next week after protests from animal rights groups that believe the animal should be listed as an endangered species.
Jason Febres, a chef at Taste & See restaurant, acknowledged on his Facebook page that some people were upset that lion was to be served at the exotic dinner Tuesday that also includes kangaroo, alpaca, crocodile and water buffalo, the Wichita Eagle reported Saturday.
"We did took a second look ... and realized that yes, it can be a little shocking and disturbing for some people," Febres posted. "I ... didn't mean to offend anybody so I decided to make it right and substitute the Lion course."
The sold-out, $160 dinner caused a stir among groups such as wild animal advocate Born Free USA and prompted a petition on the social action site Change.org urging people to pressure Febres to cancel the dinner.
The chef, however, called some of the information misleading and said he has no plans to call off the dinner.
He said he had not planned to serve wild African lion, but instead lion meat that was farm-raised. He also said he won't be adding lion meat or any of the other exotic animals at Tuesday's dinner to his regular menu.
"It's just ignorance," he said, noting that the African lion is not an endangered species.
Change.org's online newsletter says Febres "is going to slice and dice exotic animals from around the world and pretend the meal he's creating is something chic and wonderful. As bad as it is that he is cooking bits and pieces of African lion and other species usually spared from North American dinner plates (alpaca, antelope, crocodile, hare, kangaroo and water buffalo), what might be worse is that enough people have agreed to pay $160 for the 'experience' that it is sold out."
Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free, said his group and others have petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the African lion as endangered. The group also has raised concerns about the safety of eating such meat.
"Lion meat is not consumed anywhere in the world as a staple," Roberts said. "This is a publicity stunt by a few restaurants around the country."
Last year, an Arizona restaurant canceled plans to serve farm-raised lion meat in tacos after people protested.
"We believe that wild animals belong in the wild, and there should be no slaughter for human consumption, especially in the U.S.," Roberts said.
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