Roaring trade in kangaroo and zebra meat at Ashby's Butchers
Camel, buffalo, python, zebra and kangaroo sound like the roll call at the zoo – but these exotic animals are on the menu at a town butchers.
Since opening Ashby's Butchers in September, Mark Rawlinson has seen his sales of unusual meat go through the roof.
And he said more people than ever wee choosing to dine on the wildside since horse meat was discovered in supermarket products last month.
The 39-year-old, from Bagworth, said: "We find that people are going on holiday to places like South Africa or Australia and trying these meats and they want to have them at home, too.
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"We've got buffalo, camel, crocodile, elk, llama, python, springbok, wild boar, zebra, and frog legs and snails, too.
"Everything but horse – and we won't be adding that one to the menu here, we'll leave that to the supermarkets.
"Our most popular is kangaroo. It's the cheapest one we've got, so that might be why, but also it is popular in Australia so people coming back from holiday are often after it."
Meat sales at the butchers in Market Street are up about 35 per cent on six weeks ago.
Mark said: "This horse meat scandal has absolutely had an impact.
"There has been a massive rise in sales of minced beef and sausages and beef joints, as well as the more exotic stuff.
"I think people have always been a bit suspicious about the stuff in supermarkets because of the price of it, but continued to buy it perhaps out of convenience.
"But then this happened with the horse meat and it's given them that push, maybe they've lost that trust in the supermarket."
All of the meat in Mark's shop comes from within 10 miles of the shop – except the foreign animals which are imported by a buyer in Scotland.
Mark, whose family is from Leicestershire, had a butchers in Hull, but trade halved after an Asda opened up near his shop.
He was visiting Ashby on New Years Day 2012, when he spotted the empty shop in the town and jumped at the chance to move his business.
Mark said: "We had flirted with the exotic meat in Hull, but people weren't as daring with it as they are here in Leicestershire.
"I was walking through Ashby and there were no shops empty – except for the one we have now – and the trade was vibrant, with unusual and quirky shops, so unlike the normal high street which has all the same shops.
"I saw the shop, we went for it, and it has gone really, really, really well."