Two zoo related stories reared their heads on Thursday. Both required a facepalm by me.

The first one takes us to a zoo in Odense in Denmark, if I remember rightly. The people who run it organised an unusual crowdpuller, and publicly dissected a dead lion. Sky News ran blanket coverage, pointing out rather hysterically that the crowd ‘included many children.’ Yes, I expect it did. Most people who go to zoos are, in my experience, groups of mixed ages, families, school parties, whatever.

The point here is that the attendant adults took the little tykes to the demonstration. It was an active decision. They chose for the children to see what was going on, and quite rightly in my opinion. Certainly the one or two really teenietinies sitting on adults’ shoulders were clearly intended to get a good view, and I don’t see that a few entrails are going to give them sleepless nights if they’ve ever been to a butchers’ shop.

It’s not as if the crowds were treated to the sight of the lion being killed in front of their very eyes. The lion had been culled about nine months previously, not for the specific purpose of public dissection but because of some concerns about its genetics.

As ever, the swiveleyed loonies from PETA swung into action. I felt like throwing a rock at the television, screaming ‘It’s dead you numbnuts! How do you treat a dead animal ethically? IT’S DEAD! What, you want a decent burial? On the savannah there’d have been a lot of well fed vultures and hyenas!’

Now we cross the Atlantic to the land of the free, though this is strictly Belize, since it’s their national anthem. But let’s take the US connection to the phrase.

The authorities at Houston Zoo (it has to be Texas, this one) have been forced by a legal ruling to reverse a ban on handguns in the zoo. Yes indeed, if you go down to the woods today, the dodgy looking guy next to you could be packing heat. A spokesman for the nutters who had brought the case, Texas Law Shield (crazy name, crazy guys), went on record as saying, ’No licensed carrier is going to come down here and shoot a baby giraffe.’ Unless it’s called Cecil, presumably.

That’s quite a sweeping assumption for Texas Law Shield to make, and one that also ignores the possibility of an unlicensed, or even licensed, carrier running amok among the crowds of visitors. Don’t forget that this week saw a woman trying to shoot alleged shoplifters as they fled a DIY store in Michigan. She’s been charged by the way.

Lastly, on a more upbeat note, there was Friday’s heart-warming story of Koko the gorilla. She’s been raised by humans since she was a baby, and has a pretty comprehensive range of sign language. When it was her 44th birthday, as a treat, her keepers gave her some really wiggy kittens to play with, and she has since adopted them, signing that they are ‘her babies.’

All together now. Aaaaawwwwwwwww.