On Monday, Danish radio host Asger Juhl beat this baby rabbit to death with a bicycle pump, live on air.
Juhl, along with Jorgen Ramskov, the producer of the show, told the New York Times that the beating, in which the 9-week-old rabbit was bludgeoned three times with a bicycle pump and then strangled, was a stunt to highlight the Danish public's "hypocrisy when it comes to animal welfare."
In Denmark, one of the world's biggest meat consuming countries per capita, Ramskov said: "we seem to regard animal welfare as a nice thing for certain animals--and frankly don't care when it comes to normal livestock: cows, pigs, lambs, chickens." Juhl told Sky News: "We wanted to raise a discussion about why animal welfare is an issue for some animals but not for other animals."
But Juhl and Ramskov face their own hypocrisy. They say the rabbit, named Allan, "was killed in a decent way," "didn't suffer" and was "put down according to careful instructions by a professional animal taker from a Danish zoo." However, the three clubbings and the strangling of the rabbit on air tell a different story.
Raising awareness for animal suffering by beating another animal to death is only illogical cruelty. As Ricky Gervais tweeted: "I just battered a Danish DJ to death with a bicycle pump to show how terrible murder is."
Those of us who recognize the hypocrisy that exists between the treatment of pets and livestock don't beat animals to death. Instead, we don't eat animals and fight of animal rights. We are as concerned about the suffering of a baby rabbit as a chicken bound for slaughter who may not be killed by a humane method.
What the stunt really was, was a way to boost the radio program's ratings. Indeed, the little known Danish station Radio24syv is now all over the news with links back to its website and the program in question (because I have no interest in boosting their internet hits, I haven't linked their egregious clips to this blog).
The real debate that Radio24syv's brutal and appalling radio stunt triggered is what sort of punishment Juhl and Ramskov should face. More than 22,000 have signed a petition to get Juhl and the producer fired. PETA UK has sent a letter to Copenhagen's National Police Commissioner "calling for cruelty-to-animals charges being brought" against Juhl for the appalling stunt.
Animal rights and animal welfare debates are important, and there is a hypocrisy that exists within pet lovers who are also meat eaters. But debates about animal rights and their welfare but should never be sparked with cruelty and unnecessary suffering.