Susan Tremmel: Ban lion meat
I was shocked to hear that lion burgers are being served at a restaurant in Arizona. I was even more upset to hear that this isn’t something new or out of the ordinary. That this meat is considered game meat and so easily obtainable is hard to believe since lions in Africa are a threatened species with only about 20,000 left. If we do nothing, they may be extinct by 2020!Czimer Game & Sea Foods, the butcher who supplies this meat, was previously convicted in a landmark case of illegal underground animal trading. He was fined and served time in a federal prison yet is back to business as usual. Having purchased the carcasses of 16 federally protected tigers, four lions, two mountain lions, and a liger and selling them off as uninspected “lion” meat in the past, should we expect that he has changed?With unregulated displays of lion and tiger cubs all over the United States, it’s easy to understand why previous investigations have shown that lion meat was being bred and raised right here in our country. Accredited sanctuaries are full and there is nowhere for all of these big cats to go once they are too large and dangerous for exhibitors to house. The fear is that many, if not most, end up as exotic game meats. Inspectors are stretched thin. They can’t control whether or not lion meat is really from a lion. It may be tiger meat instead, which is illegally traded since tigers are an endangered species.By banning the breeding of big cats in the private sector, it would make it impossible for US dealers to acquire and sell this meat. Neither the USDA nor the FDA has the manpower to inspect, regulate, and ensure the quality or origin of this food source. Please sponsor or co-sponsor a bill that would ban the breeding, buying and selling of big cats in the US (other than AZA zoos).
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