The Danish radio presenter who battered a baby rabbit to death live on air may have “had a point”, some people have conceded after the stunt provoked global outrage.
Asger Juhl, who was filmed gently stroking the animal before killing it with a bicycle pump, skinning it and cooking it for dinner, said its death intended to expose “hypocrisy” over cruelty in Denmark’s meat industry.
Ricky Gervais was among the celebrities wading into the row yesterday, sarcastically tweeting that he “battered a Danish DJ to death with a bicycle pump to show how terrible murder is”.
Radio24syv stressed that the nine-week old rabbit, called Allan, had been killed painlessly following a zookeeper’s advice but the animal’s death has been condemned as “cruel” and “pointless”.
The station claimed it had “succeeded” in its mission to raise awareness about cruelty in the meat industry by provoking a global debate.
Despite the anger on Twitter, some people said they “understood the point” the broadcaster was making, even if the methods were “excessive”.
“Sounds pretty brutal, but maybe they have a point,” one person wrote, while another added: “I think many here need to pour their cafe latte (sic) in a thermos and get out of the city to see how nature can be”.
One man said: “I don't like seeing animals harmed but good stuff! Great example of hypocrisy.”
Thousands of people have called for a boycott of Radio24syv, while almost 10,000 more have signed a petition to get Mr Juhl fired.
After a storm of criticism and abuse on Twitter since the rabbit died on Monday, he wrote this morning: “I killed a rabbit. It didn't suffer. I ate it. Why is that wrong? Simple question, can you answer?”
In a statement, Radio24syv claimed “thousands and thousands” of animals were being killed every day for meat in Denmark without concern for their welfare.
“Consumers do not hesitate to buy cheap meat in stores without asking questions about the life or death of the animal,” it added.
“Meat from chickens, pigs, cows and sheep, that have not led a dignified or pleasant life… animal welfare does not seem to apply to animals in the food industry.”
I killed a rabbit. It didn't suffer. I ate it. Why is that wrong? Simple question, can you answer? Regards, the Danish radio host.— Asger Juhl (@asgerjuhl) May 27, 2015
Some chicken farms in the country cram 13 birds into a square metre, while thousands of piglets die because they are surplus to requirements, the radio station claimed.
Radio24syv said it killed Allan to “highlight” the issue using an animal used for meat and kept as a pet.
“We anticipated strong reactions,” a spokesperson added. “We knew that we would be accused of provocation.
“And yes, we indeed wanted to provoke the public and to stir a debate about the hypocrisy when it comes to perceptions of cruelty towards animals.”
Shoppers do not consider the animals they eat “cute” like Allan and cannot stomach killing them themselves as Mr Juhl did, the station argued.
“We wanted to expose the vast hypocrisy surrounding our relationship with animals,” it added. “So far we have succeeded.”
It is the latest incident to draw international attention to the treatment of animals in Denmark, following the killing of a baby giraffe called Marius, who was then dissected in front of children.
Four lions were later killed at the same zoo in Copenhagen.