Is it worse to eat a pig for dinner or a bunny?
A Danish radio station is under fire after killing a 9-week-old rabbit live on air to protest double standards held by meat eaters. Hosts for the outlet, Radio24syv, beat the animal, nicknamed Alan, over the head with a bicycle pump. The rabbit apparently twitched several times before it died, according to a report from the BBC.
"Every day in the nation of Denmark, thousands and thousands of animals are put down to fill the meat counters in our super markets," the outlet wrote on its Facebook page. "Animal welfare does not seem to apply to animals in the food industry."
Rabbits have long been a controversial food choice in the United States. Customers began a boycott against Whole Foods last year after the grocery chain launched a rabbit-meat pilot program that cited customer demand as the reason to include the animal in its meat counter offerings. The food is a staple in many European cuisines, but many Americans have placed rabbits into the "pet" category rather than the "dinner" one.
Other food proteins haven't been as lucky. In the U.S. last year, 3.7 billion animals were killed for consumption, according to data from the Humane Society of the United States. Many come from factory farms that still use controversial methods like gestation crates and battery cages.
Despite attempts to encourage debate about animal welfare, the Danish station has already come under harsh criticism for the stunt.
Linse Kessler, a reality star and animal rights activist, was invited to join the station during the event to debate factory farming. When Kessler realized the hosts planned to kill the rabbit, she allegedly chased them around the station to try and save the animal before being asked to leave, The Local reported.
Adam Danforth, author of the humane slaughter guide "Butchering," writes that rabbits are actually the "simplest" animals to kill for consumption, and are usually butchered between 10 and 16 weeks of age. One of the easiest methods is a "karate chop" to the back of the head with a hand or blunt object, followed by bleeding the animal. But the method requires practice, and missing can lead to "an ineffective and inhumane stun."
The radio station wrote the hosts took care to ensure the rabbit was slaughtered humanely, consulting animal caretakers at a local zoo. But as Danforth notes in his book, a major problem for an inexperienced butcher can be the need for "repeated blows" that can lead to suffering and a feeling of "bludgeoning to death."
Despite the criticism, the radio outlet has stood by the act in half a dozen posts on its Facebook page, including videos of one host cooking the rabbit for his family and another calling for respect between animal activists and meat-lovers.
"We wanted to expose the vast hypocrisy surrounding our relationship with animals," the station wrote. "So far we have succeeded. We wanted and want to have a debate about animal welfare -- for ALL animals."
You can read the outlet's entire statement on the event below.