The shooting of 17 year-old gorilla, Harambe, at Cincinnati Zoo has caused a palpable sense of anger amongst meat-lovers and zoo-visitors.

Social media has erupted in outrage over the past few days after the captive-bred gorilla was gunned down after an irresponsible 4-year old fell into Harambe’s enclosure. Tweeters were quick to jump to their keyboards in defence of the 180-kg muscular mammal, insisting that the slaughter of innocent animals is entirely avoidable. Even Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the shooting, tweeting: ‘‘all creatures should be treated with dignity, both in life and after death’’.

Many have also used Harambe’s untimely demise to expressed concerns about keeping animals in captivity, with some people even resorting to sharing memes that call for the end of animal exploitation (except for pigs, cows, sheep, goats, horses and chickens). Janice, an annual member at Whipsnade Zoo, posted the message: ‘‘Animals are not designed to be kept in cages, as long as we continue to exploit and commercialise other species on this planet, tragedies like this will continue to happen’’. Despite the gorilla’s death, Janice is still hoping to take her children to the zoo next weekend.

It is believed the parents of the toddler had attempted to rescue their child prior to the shooting; however they struggled to pull him to safety while filming the ordeal at the same time. In another unexpected outcome, President Barack Obama has also weighed in, commenting that Harambe’s killing clearly highlights the need for tighter gun-laws in the US, and he believes that Harambe would have not been shot if he had be a white tiger or white rhino.