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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.

— Khan said he doesn’t understand why the conservation groups are going after him if the meat he is serving is legal.

“My answer to them is very simple. I am not going out there and hunting anyone. It’s not like we’re going out in the backyard or taking people’s pets. Lion is not even a pet to be honest, what I personally believe. I just buy the packages. I sell them by law,” Khan said. “If you don’t like something, and you feel like that’s not right, you have to go to the resource, not after the person buying it in the package.”

Khan declined to name the supplier of his lion meat, but said he receives it pre-packaged from a local market that currently has a “shortage of lion meat.” He said the meat will not be available at his restaurant until late December or January.

But Vince Walcek, a resident Colonie, said he had little trouble purchasing a lion burger on Friday, Nov. 30, from Dave’s Burger and Pizza. He said it was “weird-flavored” and he did not particularly enjoy it.

“I wanted to try the lion burger. He got kind of nervous and said, ‘OK, but don’t tell anybody because the media’s giving me a hard time,'” Walcek said. “I ended up paying $30 for it. He was saying something about it, how he only has a couple burgers left. He said he couldn’t sell it for $20.”

When asked about the Nov. 30 sale to Walcek, Khan told The Spotlight he had not sold a lion burger for about two months.

The meat of the matter

Serving lion meat, Flocken said, seems to be more a publicity stunt than anything else. He pointed to a Synovate poll that found 63 percent of Americans would not return to a restaurant that served lion meat. Since 2009, the IFAW has successfully convinced eight restaurants around the nation to drop lion meat from their menus.

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Comments

debannel 2 years 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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