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Lion meat burgers served at Arizona restaurant

Lion meat burgers are generating protests and controversy at an Arizona restaurant.

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Lion meat burgers, about 15 per day, are being served at an Arizona restaurant. African lions are on the protected list, but not endangered.

Peter Andrews/Reuters

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An Arizona restaurant owner dreamed up a novelty meal to give customers a South African experience during the World Cup. But serving burgers made with African lion meat has generated protests.

Cameron Selogie says his Il Vinaio restaurant in Mesa has received a bomb threat and more than 150 e-mails from protesters. He says African lions are on the protected list, but not endangered.

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The restaurant ordered 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of African lion meat from a USDA-regulated, free-range farm in Illinois, which Selogie says he researched to make sure they were humane. It's mixed with ground beef, and the restaurant says it's serving about 15 burgers a day.

USDA spokesman Jim Brownlee says lion meat is an uncommon dish, but he knew of no prohibitions against it.

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