A Danish zoo on Thursday dissected a lion in front of a group of children, in an educational event condemned as a "macabre spectacle" by animal rights groups but given a thumbs-up by many Danes.
The nine-month-old lion was one of three that Odense Zoo in central Denmark put down in February, on the grounds it had too many big cats and could not find a home for the surplus. Since then, the beasts had been kept in a freezer.
Last year, a zoo in the capital Copenhagen came under fire after a healthy giraffe was euthanised and dissected in public.
On Thursday, between 300 and 400 adults and children -- some as young as four -- gathered around zoo guide Rasmus Kolind as he began the dissection by cutting off the lion's tongue.
Some of the children, who were standing only centimetres (inches) away, held their noses and frowned as the animal was skinned and the stench of the cadaver began to fill the air.
"Wouldn't it be stranger if I were standing here cutting up an animal that smelled like flowers or something else?" Kolind told the crowd.
"Dead animals smell like dead animals. There's not a lot to say about that," he said.
"I don't want to see that," one boy said, but a girl interviewed by public broadcaster DR described the event as "fun to see but also a bit disgusting."
Zoo guide Lotte Tranberg explained why the healthy young lion had to be put down.
"If we had allowed it to stay it could have mated, that is to say have cubs, with its own sisters and its own mother. And then you have what is called inbreeding," she told the crowd.
In a risque joke, as he proceeded to carve up the carcass, Kolind asked "Is there anyone who would like an eye?" before chopping off the head, holding it up for everyone to see, and then proceeding to skin it.
Public dissections are a regular occurrence at Danish zoos, where they are seen as a way of teaching children about nature.
A Copenhagen zoo prompted a storm of criticism in February last year, and its scientific director received death threats, for putting down a healthy giraffe and cutting it up in public.