Animal news

A Chinese zoo-keeper has saved a monkey’s life by licking its anus. The silly creature got constipated after swallowing a peanut, but Zhang Bangsheng managed to coax the nut out by stimulating the orifice from which it eventually emerged. You’ve got to admire a man who restores a monkey to good health by rimming it for an hour. He deserves the title of “Righteous among the Humans” for his selfless act.

Some of you might be wondering why licking a monkey’s anus would cause it to excrete a nut. My response to such a question would be: Why are you asking me? If I had to guess, I would say it induces involuntary contractions in the monkey’s sphincter that progress up the digestive tract. But that would be pure speculation on my part. All I can say for certain is that you shouldn’t try it yourself. Leave such avant-garde techniques to the professionals – when you get constipated, put your faith in a trusty old suppository rather paying someone to give you analingus.

The good thing about this story is that it happened in China, refuting the unpleasant stereotype of the Chinese as a race of humans who heal sick animals by chopping them up and frying them in their woks. Many Chinese, in fact, are Buddhists who refrain from eating meat. An ancient Zen master once said that the truly enlightened will take pains to save the life of an insect. He was talking nonsense, of course, but his words were wise in spirit. Too many people don’t look where they’re sitting before planting their fat behinds.

Sadly, many humans lack the ancient philosophical wisdom of the Chinese. More lacking than most are the Welsh, who only ever practised vegetarianism when the English ate all their livestock. You wouldn’t catch a Welshman licking a monkey’s anus unless extortion or slavery were involved. Constipated primates are told to go for a curry in Wales.

The true attitude of the Welsh to animals is aptly illustrated by a recent incident in Australia, where a couple of cheeky boyos visited an aquatic menagerie in Queensland. Not being familiar with zoos (which don’t exist in Wales), they treated the animals like theme part exhibits to be toyed with at leisure. After letting off a fire extinguisher in the shark pool, they took one of the penguins back to their hotel, no doubt playing games with it in the bath. They were arrested soon afterwards and brought before a magistrate, who fined them without recording convictions, accepting the argument that they were mindless oafs rather than vandals.

What these stories show is that you’ve got to allow for culture and upbringing when judging human behaviour. Licking a monkey’s anus isn’t necessarily a lewd act if the person doing has been tutored in oriental philosophies advocating compassion for all living things. And treating a penguin as a bath toy isn’t a malicious act if the persons doing it are yokels from a bumpkin nation. Context is everything.

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