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By Alexander Smith

A radio station in Denmark was heavily criticized Tuesday after one of its hosts killed a rabbit live on air in a debate about animal rights before later cooking it.

Radio24syv presenter Asger Juhl said he killed 9-month-old rabbit, named Allan, by hitting him over the head with a bicycle pump.

The incident, which took place in a studio, was broadcast live on air.

The station explained on its Facebook page that Juhl intended to "stir a debate about the hypocrisy when it comes to perceptions of cruelty towards animals."

It posted a video that it said showed the rabbit being cooked by Juhl in a pot.

The station said: "Danish agriculture is one of the most industrialized in the world...we do not seem to focus much on animal welfare."

"These conditions provoke very few reactions from the consumers," it added.

Advice on killing the animal was provided an animal caretaker at a Danish zoo, the station added.

While some applauded the stunt, most of the online response was angry.

"I hope you rot in Hell for your cheap publicity stunt, designed only to gain audience share," said Logan Anderson, posting on the station's Facebook page.

Another, Lucy Binnie, added: "Killing an animal as a stunt is awful but your defense of it is horrendous. Embarrassment of a station."

An online petition entitled "Dismiss Asger Juhl for killing Allan the rabbit live on air" had gained 309 signatures by 9:45 a.m. ET.

It is not the first time the Danes have been in hot water over animal killings.

In February 2014, staff at Copenhagen Zoo received death threats after killing an 18-month-old healthy male giraffe called Marius and feeding its meat to the lions. The zoo said the animal's genes were already well represented in an international breeding program.