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Uproar over lion burgers

Restaurant owner evasive on issue of lion burgers as advocates call for meat to be pulled

Dave Khan, owner of Dave's Burgers in Colonie, with one of his signature Kobe burgers.

Dave Khan, owner of Dave's Burgers in Colonie, with one of his signature Kobe burgers. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— A local restaurant’s menu has caught the attention of national animal advocates, but there’s some question whether this cat fight’s been resolved or not.

Dave’s Burger and Pizza on Fuller Road opened two months ago serving exotic meats including kangaroo, alligator, llama and rattlesnake. Yet the offering of one specific meat has several animal conservation organizations stirring. The lion burger was once owner Dave Khan’s priciest piece on the menu at $75 and is now offered at $20. But the price isn’t exactly what made the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) based in Washington, D.C., call for Khan to remove the burger from his menu.

“It’s inappropriate,” IFAW D.C. Office Director Jeffrey Flocken said. “Lions are imperiled. Their population has declined over 50 percent in the last 30 years.”

While the other meats on Khan’s menu don’t make the IFAW happy, the group is primarily focused on endangered species and part of its mission includes stopping lion meat from being served in restaurants. Lion meat is legal to sell and consume, yet the process to add the African lion to the U.S. endangered species list is underway at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Lions are a “coveted trophy hunted species,” said Flocken, who added the U.S. is more than 60 percent responsible for the dramatic decline in lion populations. There are only about 30,000 African lions remaining worldwide.

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On the hunt

It is not entirely clear whether advocates have gotten their wish in Colonie because Khan has been unclear on whether he’s still offering lion. He was reported as saying he’d stopped selling it shortly after IFAW released its statement, but he told The Spotlight on Thursday, Nov. 29, that he would keep it on the menu.

“I’m not selling it right now because we don’t have it, but it’s in my menu,” Khan said. “I’m not going to take it off my menu, no way. Once I get it I will be selling it again. I get about 10 calls a day asking for lion. I just don’t have it right now.”

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debannel 1 year, 4 months ago

The African lion population has declined by more than 50 percent in 30 years, with fewer than 35,000 lions estimated in the wild today. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will consider protecting the African lion under the Endangered Species Act. To comment on the proposed status change, visit the Born Free USA web site at www.bornfreeusa.org for instructions and sample letters to submit comments.

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