Businesses, Chefs Cook up Controversy With Lion Meat on The Menu

Imagine lion meat on the menu of a restaurant - even served at your dinner table.

As we reported two years ago, there are people who eat and enjoy big game meat.

It comes as a surprise considering the uproar that followed reports that two Americans killed lions while in Zimbabwe.

Adam Roberts of Born Free USA is fighting to get lion meat banned from American plates.

“It’s a growing trend and it needs to stop now,” Roberts told INSIDE EDITION’s Lisa Guerrero.

While it's legal in the U.S., Roberts says there are other concerns.

Read: Another American Doctor Accused of Illegally Hunting a Lion in Zimbabwe

“We don't know actually what's in the lion meat,” he said.

Roberts says the meat may be unsafe because there are no regulations or proper inspections.

So where does lion meat come from?

Anshu Pathak, who owns ExoticMeatMarkets.com, told INSIDE EDITION that he's charging a whopping $2,000 a pound for lion meat that he can ship as frozen patties.

To prove that it's safe, Pathak sliced up raw ground lion meat and ate it.

He's not the only one INSIDE EDITION found selling the King of the Jungle for food.

We found lion meat being sold at a butcher shop, Czimer's Wild Game, outside Chicago in 2013.

Guerrero tried to speak with the owner, Richard Czimer - but he refused. Czimer locked the door and called police. When we tried to reach him this past Monday, the number was disconnected.

Georgia Pellegrini, a wild game chef and author, agreed to cook up a batch of lion ricotta meatballs at a Texas restaurant when we met her in 2013.

She said at the time: “We’re not used to it here but I think we’re starting to get more adventurous and I say why not?”

Read: Ted Nugent Defends Lion Killer

Georgia sees nothing wrong with lion on the menu as long as the animal is raised humanely.

But, she told us Monday, she’s horrified by the way Cecil was hunted down and slaughtered by the American dentist in Zimbabwe.

“It was awful. I mean it was heartbreaking,” Pelligrini said.

“This was an animal that was part of a study from Oxford University. He was beloved. He was supposed to be preserved. He had a tracking collar on. This guy didn’t even harvest the meat. He took off the head… took of the tracker the lion was wearing and to me that’s not what hunting is at all."

She says she still believes there’s nothing wrong with hunting big game.

“This guy was not a hunter,” she said. “He was a killer.”

Watch Below: Another Doctor is Accused of Illegally Hunting a Lion in Zimbabwe