COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - A Danish radio station is defending a show during which the host killed a baby rabbit by hitting it with a bicycle pump, live on the air, saying it was intended to show the hypocrisy of animal lovers.
The host, Asger Juhl, killed the baby rabbit, called Allan, "according to careful instructions by a professional animal caretaker from a Danish zoo", station 24/7 said on Tuesday. He later took the rabbit home, skinned it and cooked it.
Monday's show caused a storm on social media, with many Danes outraged. "They are sick. Euw! THEY should have a bicycle pump in their faces," Facebook user Melissa Rod wrote of the radio show.
"We knew we would be accused of provocation," the station said in a statement. "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."
During the broadcast, the station provided details of the livestock industry in Denmark, where people are outnumbered by pigs for slaughter. It said Danes' concern for animal welfare did not extend to the way animals are killed for their dining room tables.
"These animals have often endured horrific suffering on their way to our dinner tables. These animals are killed according to the same controlled conditions as our studio rabbit, and without it invoking any strong reactions," the station said.
The incident is the latest to whip up outrage over Danish treatment of animals. Similar outbursts followed Copenhagen Zoo's decision last year to kill and publicly dissect a giraffe and, a few weeks later, kill four healthy lions to renew its breeding stock.
Some said the radio station had a point. "It says a lot about the Danes that they go more crazy over a rabbit than over thousands of refugees on the Mediterranean Sea," JepFransson tweeted on Twitter with the hashtag #allangate.
Another wrote: "I think many here need to pour their cafe latte in a thermos and get out of the city to see how nature can be".
(Reporting by Annabella Pultz Nielsen; Writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Larry King)