Photo: Dallas Ewing, Flickr
Here's one of the more bizarre stories to emerge from this year's international soccer madness: in honor of the World Cup and its host country, a restaurant in Mesa, Arizona is serving up burgers made from lion meat. (It's dubious what kind of "honor" it is for a restaurant half a world away to be taking one of Africa's most iconic and threatened species and tossing it in a meat grinder.)
Apparently sensing that the burger wouldn't be a roaring hit with animal-rights folks, owner Cameron Selogie of Il Vinaio opted to keep the special off the sandwich board and on the down low, announcing it to a select list of restaurant regulars via email. Turns out one of the regulars is an animal lover (who, it seems, doesn't seem to mind Il Vinaio's other occasional gamey offerings, such as wild boar), and she alerted the press.
Now the story has been picked up as far away as the UK, with CNNMoney.com launching an investigation into the source of the big cat meat. Selogie claimed his lion had come from a "free-range" farm in Illinois (sure, you know, that famous lion farm south of Chicago...), but it turns out the source is some shady guy who runs a "skinning operation."
If you've got the stomach, you can check out all the sordid details at CNNMoney.com.