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Lion Meat - Phil's Rambling Rants
May 21st, 2011
10:15 pm

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Lion Meat
This evening's Living on Earth included a disturbing piece on lion meat (transcript with audio).

The Chicago area butcher involved in Operation Snowplow is apparently still in business and dealing in lion meat.  USDA regulations don't apply; the only government authority is basic FDA food safety stuff.

My knee jerk reaction is horror.  Eating a lion is "just wrong".  But I rail at other people who would ban things that I think are fine because they have no better reason than "it's just wrong".  I have some thoughts, but I can't make a complete rational statement on this right now.  I need to go to bed, so I can get up early tomorrow and take care of the animals that were seized in Operation Snowplow, because selling tiger meat is actually illegal.

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From:catalana
Date:May 22nd, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)
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I don't have a knee jerk reaction that eating a lion is wrong. Honestly, if you lived in the same habitat as they did, I would have no problem with your eating a lion if that was necessary to survive. I don't have a lot of tolerance for people from other cultures looking at the animals people eat and saying that they should starve to death instead; I don't much care if you eat an antelope or a lion from that perspective. (Furthermore, if a lion is going to be killed, I'd much rather people made use of its various parts than let them go to waste.)

However, considering the dwindling numbers of them in the wild and the complete lack of oversight of any of these operations in the US, it seems incredibly ethically dubious to be eating them here.
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From:filkertom
Date:May 22nd, 2011 08:45 am (UTC)
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What she said.
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From:catsittingstill
Date:May 22nd, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
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I have a problem with people eating endangered species. I guess I would have to relax that somewhat if there was nothing else to eat and it was a matter of eat or die. However, I get the impression this eating is occurring in the US (Chicago butcher), so "eat or die" is not an issue here.

Deliberately killing a lion disturbs me because lions are rare, but eating something that hasn't been killed--that died of natural causes--seems kind of disgusting. It's the killing, though, that strikes me as potentially an issue of right and wrong, the eating something dead of natural causes strikes me as an issue of disgust--a matter of taste, and arguably practicality, that doesn't really have much to do with right and wrong.

And deliberately killing a lion so people can show off (by eating something very unusual and presumably expensive)--well, let's just say that I think sometimes the purpose of an action can have redeeming features that help reconcile me to an ethically dubious situation. But I don't see any redeeming features in this purpose.
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