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Tampa restaurant draws fire for serving lion tacos

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The lunchtime crowd at Taco Fusion in South Tampa is just like any other, but what's on the menu, isn't.

There are tacos with exotic meats like bison, shark and ostrich, and then there are the latest menu items which include lion.

Taco Fusion manager Brad Barnett says, "Our whole thought process of bringing the exotic meats to the Tampa bay area was to give people the opportunity to try different things that they normally wouldn't get to try."

The restaurant, which has only been open since February, started serving the lion tacos about four weeks ago.

Scott Bailey decided to come in and try one, after one of his co-workers told him about it.

Bailey said, "It is different it is really tasty, but it was hard to know what to expect with it, to be honest."

The lion meat comes from an approved distributor and is raised for the purpose of human consumption.

"It is not like someone us pulling up in the back with a truck with a carcass from the Serengetti and saying hey I got this meat do you want to buy it, no, it is... it is all from approved sources," added Barnett

The manager at Taco Fusion says that even he is surprised over the positive reaction from customers over the exotic meats they have on their menu, including the lion.

Not all of the customers at Taco Fusion think offering lion is good idea.

Becky Holbrook, a Taco Fusion customer, said, "I don't think they should be selling that, we don't need that to eat we have enough good stuff to eat without going after lions and bears and all the other animals that they intend to sell tacos."

The people at Big Cat Rescue, who are in the business of saving the lives of lions say, the restaurant is exploiting the king of the beasts.

Jeff Kremer with Big Cat Rescue says, "We are hoping they make the humane decision and take it off the menu permanently they are still going to exploit other creatures or sell them for a novelty but you have to draw the line somewhere and the time to speak up is right now."

But the manager says if there's a market for the $35 tacos, he'll continue to offer them.

Taco Fusion manager Barnett added, "Just because someone at home doesn't want it doesn't mean a hundred other people don't, and America is still free, and we are still allowed to provide services that people want."

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