This article originally appeared on VICE Denmark
Yesterday, to the utter disbelief of more or less everyone, two Danish radio hosts beat a rabbit named Allan to death with a bicycle pump – live on air. Apparently it was an attempt to highlight the hypocrisy that many people show when it comes to animal welfare.
Allangate – as it's now widely known – has naturally turned into a bit of a global media shitstorm and the Radio 24syv hosts Asger Juhl and Kristoffer Eriksen have been catching their fair share of stick for it. I caught up with Kristoffer to ask what exactly this rabbit battering was all about.
VICE: Hey Kristoffer, how's it going?
Kristoffer: Well, alright, I think. The last two days have been pretty crazy. Probably because we killed a rabbit on live radio. And then we ate it.
That's probably why, yeah. What exactly happened?
It was a bank holiday on Monday, so we decided to make a three-hour show about how people are hypocrites when it comes to animal welfare. We had a bunch of different experts talking about the subject, then we got our intern to go buy us a rabbit so we could kill it and confront ourselves with the fact that every time we eat meat, an animal dies.
We think it's important that people consider how the animals we eat are treated. Denmark has a huge pig production industry where tons of baby pigs are killed and often thrown out as waste. There are loads of animal welfare issues in the agriculture industry but people don't really give a shit about it unless it's a cute little animal, like a puppy or a rabbit.
It was your colleague Asger who actually did the rabbit bashing. Is he getting a harder time than you?
The media is giving us both equal amounts of shit but the mob is definitely going harder on Asger. He's getting all the death threats.
What sort of threats have you guys been getting?
Some Russian guy sent a pretty insane one, threatening Asger's children. I actually have it here. The subject line is "Hello Bitch" and here's the message:
"I can't understand you, you sick bastard. I wish to find your children and break their heads while I look at your face and reveal your pain. Imagine how your poor child is trying to catch his breath of air while his fucking head is falling apart. It's delicious. Oh, I wish, and I want to find them."
So was it worth it?
Yeah, I think reactions like that pretty much make it worth it because they help illustrate a pretty solid point — that some people think that animals and humans are equal, or even that some animals are more valuable than humans. I think that's pretty scary, to be honest.
How did you guys decide who was going to kill Allan?
It was pretty easy. Asger is from the countryside and he's killed animals before so we thought it would be best if he did it. He was instructed by a guy at the zoo who kills rabbits to feed them to snakes – so Asger was under the strict guidance of a professional. Obviously, I'm a total hypocrite because I don't mind eating meat but I didn't want to kill a rabbit.
What's up with your choice of weapon? People weren't too happy about that bike pump.
In retrospect, it was probably a mistake to use a bike pump. The guy at the zoo said we needed to use a blunt object but we only had a bike pump. Unfortunately, all the headlines are focusing on that and it's detracting from the point we were trying to make.
You said you were a hypocrite, but how do you feel now? Do you want to hunt or become a vegetarian?
Neither. But I was actually surprised that I didn't have some huge emotional reaction to Asger beating up the rabbit. Now, I wouldn't mind killing an animal myself if the situation called for it. I was definitely far more scared and emotional about it before it happened before I saw it.
Asger has kids, right? What did they think?
Asger took the body home and skinned it in front of his children. He showed them how to take out the intestines and everything and basically made a science project out of the whole thing. Then he brought the rabbit over to my place and we cooked it. I heard the kids thought it was really interesting.
Where do you draw the line between knowing where your food comes from and creating a generation of sociopaths who kill animals with bike pumps?
It's important to let children know that you can't kill an animal for no reason. That's the point we were trying to make. If you're going to eat an animal, it's going to die. This has nothing to do with hunting an animal just to see it in pain or out of some morbid curiosity. You don't kill animals for the fun of it, it's part of life – part of being at the top of the food chain.