Asger Juhl, the host of a live radio show in Denmark, took an adorable floppy-eared baby rabbit (photo above) out of a box, petted the nine-week old with what appeared to be tenderness (audio was made available on the website) then clubbed the rabbit to death with a bicycle pump. You can hear the rabbit scream online as the host not only beat him but strangled him as well. Thank you Denmark. First Marius the two-year old giraffe in the Copenhagen Zoo, now the rabbit. The zoo explained how to kill the rabbit (with a bicycle pump?). All very humane, said the radio station. (By the way, Isn’t it time that the word “humane” and the word “slaughter” were not found in the same sentence?)
The Danish author Erling Jepsen said he thought it was fine. He himself had killed over a thousand rabbits, and pontificated: “Animals are there for us, we are not there for animals.” I guess God told him that.
The radio show said it was trying to make a point about the hypocrisy of people who eat meat yet object to the idea of visible slaughter. But that is a bit like telling people that you want them to really understand how wrong it is to kill people, so you turn to your co-host and murder her on the spot. “See how bad that makes you feel?”
Surely the point could have been made on the radio without killing an actual living being. You don’t have to be a vegetarian or a vegan to find it deplorable, vicious and unnecessary, to force your argument with a painful scene that nobody wants to see. Yes, it is probably true that if slaughterhouses were made of glass, the world would be vegetarian. And yes, we need to think about the reality of a slaughterhouse, but in order to do that, we do not necessarily need to visit one. I know that when I wrote my book The Face on Your Plate, about going vegan, it would have been brave, perhaps, of me to visit one, but I could not bring myself to do so.
I know that I would have been enraged had I been on the show and forced to watch a rabbit killed in front of me. Small wonder that the person who was arguing against eating meat found herself horrified and tried to stop the host from his act of murder. In vain. My sympathies are entirely with her and the radio host disgusts me. It is like making art by killing animals live onstage. Whatever you call it, It is still ugly.
I used to think of Denmark as the most civilized country in Europe. Maybe I need to rethink that.