Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Danish Radio Station Defends Host Who Clubbed Rabbit to Death During Animal Welfare Debate

Allan the rabbit, shortly before he was killed during a live radio broadcast in Denmark on Monday. Credit Radio 24syv, via Facebook
A radio station in Denmark argued Tuesday that it was merely fulfilling its public service mandate to provoke debate when the host of a morning show beat a baby rabbit to death with a bicycle pump this week during a live discussion of animal welfare.

Jorgen Ramskov, the editor in chief of Radio 24syv, a private station supported by fees from listeners, explained in an email that the killing of a nine-week-old rabbit named Allan during a broadcast on Monday was intended to highlight the Danish public’s “hypocrisy when it comes to animal welfare.”

Audio of the killing during the Danish-language program was made available on the broadcaster’s website.

News of the rabbit’s killing inflamed opinion on social networks, perhaps in part because Asger Juhl, the host who clubbed and strangled the rabbit, was pictured with Allan before and after the killing in two video clips posted on the station’s Facebook page.

In the first clip, Mr. Juhl was seen petting the live rabbit in the studio.

The second clip showed what the station described as meat from Allan’s body cooking on a stove before Mr. Juhl and Kristoffer Eriksen, the morning show’s co-host, ate it.

“At least in Denmark,” Mr. Ramskov said Tuesday, “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.”

Danes, he added, have a voracious appetite for meat, but “consumers do not hesitate to buy cheap meat in stores without asking questions about the life or death of the animal — meat from chickens, pigs, cows and sheep that have not led dignified or pleasant lives.”

“To take the life of an animal brings about a strong emotional response in vast segments of the public,” Mr. Ramskov noted. “It was important to us that the rabbit would not suffer, and it was put down according to careful instructions by a professional animal caretaker from a Danish zoo.”

Speaking to Britain’s Sky News, he argued: “I think this rabbit had a very decent life. It was taken good care of, it had a nice life and it was killed in a decent way.”

The station’s high-minded description of the debate was perhaps undermined slightly by its choice of Linse Kessler, a Danish reality star known for her enormous fake breasts, to argue the animal-rights case during the show. After Ms. Kessler realized that Mr. Juhl intended to kill Allan, she chased the host around the studio, trying to free the rabbit, but ultimately failed.

In a Facebook update headlined “R.I.P. Little Allan,” translated by The Local, Ms. Kessler said that she understood the point the station was trying to make about the hypocrisy of meat eaters, but still called the stunt “wrong.”

While there was quite a bit of fury online about what quickly became known on Twitter as #Allangate, there was also some support for the station’s point.

Reaction in the Danish press was more positive. The Copenhagen newspaper Politiken featured an interview with Erling Jepsen, an author and former rabbit breeder, who said he was puzzled by the revulsion from some quarters at the live kaninslagtning, or rabbit slaughter.

Mr. Jepsen, who estimated that he had killed perhaps 1,000 rabbits himself, suggested that people who were agitated by the broadcast had no relationship with nature. “It’s the animals who are there for us,” he said. “Not us who are there for the animals.”

Addressing the reaction on its website, Radio 24syv argued Tuesday: “We wanted to expose the vast hypocrisy surrounding our relationship with animals. So far we have succeeded. We wanted and want to have a debate about animal welfare — for all animals.”

For his part, Mr. Ramskov, the station’s editor, observed that there was “a lot of interesting debate going on in social media – at least in Denmark — regarding animal welfare.” He added, “Unfortunately the discussion abroad only focused on the killing of a single rabbit.”

New York Times
May 26th, 2015

Here's the problem with your "intelligent" debate, guys. People expect the animals that are bred for their food to be treated with "respect", for one thing, and to be killed as quickly and painlessly as possible for another. Hitting a rabbit repeatedly with a bar doesn't constitute "quickly" and "painlessly" to me. Had you used a gun or some kind of automated machine, or a stunning instrument of sorts, I'd understand your argument.

Your including of an animal rights campaigner just because of her sex appeal and killing the rabbit in front of her, by the way, makes a mockery of your wanting to have any serious debate about this at all. For you it's just a game, a show, and not an important issue.
Addendum - Headline of the story and photos sometimes changed to improve or update article content. Text always as originally posted by source.

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