AN East Lancashire takeaway has become the first in the country to sell zebra pizzas.

Friends of the Earth said many animal lovers would be ‘appalled’ at the sale.

But campaigners at the Worldwide Fund for Nature said that as long as the meat was sourced from responsible farms then they have no concerns.

Yummy Yummy Italia, in Parker Lane, Burnley, said that its range of zebra, buffalo, venison, kangaroo and even crocodile pizzas have been a big hit with customers since going on sale earlier this year.

The exotic foods are sourced from ‘alternative meats’ supplier Kezie, based in Berwickshire, which pledged that the ingredients are from responsible farms.

Arash Fard, 33, the owner of the business, said the idea for the unique pizza toppings came after a trip to London, where he saw frogs legs used on pizzas.

He developed the menu with his Italian girlfriend Veronica.

Mr Fard said: “When I came back I began to research the idea because I wanted to sell frogs legs pizzas but I soon found a better idea.

“I thought it would be something really different. I’ve had a few goes and tried a few different recipes but it is perfect now.

“The main thing I get from customers now is that they don’t believe that I am serving real zebra meat.

“But it is totally for real. The meat is all legal and all legitimate.”

He said he sells around 20 of the zebra and crocodile pizzas every week.

But Mr Fard said he has had some friends and customers questioning his idea.

He said: “Everyone tells me ‘what part of Italy do they serve zebra pizza?’ But it is just something different.

"It is a meat just like any other and if people like it then why can’t I serve it.”

Brian Jackson, from the East Lancs Friends of the Earth branch, said: “It may not be illegal but is certainly immoral.

“Zebra may not be on the endangered list but it is not exactly common.

"I think people will be rightly appalled about this while there will be others who think it is a bit of fun.

“Going for things like zebra is encouraging the destruction of rare wildlife.”

A spokesman for WWF said: “If the meat is responsibly sourced and from sustainable sources then we have no objections.”

Walter Murray, a director at supplier Kezie, said: “I have never heard of the zebra meat being used on a pizza before but we do have quite a few customers across the country, usually those buying steaks.

“We comply with the CITIES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) regulations and our zebras are of the plains species which is not endangered.

“Most of our zebras are sourced from game parks in South Africa where they are in over supply.

“All of our featured meats come through meat plants which are certified by the EU food standard agency under licence to be acceptable in welfare, hygiene and conservation.”

Zebra meat is popular in South Africa and is normally eaten as burgers or steaks.

A spokesman for Burnley Council said that the premises was the subject of an inspection in the past two weeks by food standards and environmental health officers and no major concerns were raised.

Mr Fard said he has provided documentation to the authority about the source of his ingredients as well as his methods of storage, preparation and cooking.