Swedes flipper out at dolphin dissection on TV

Sweden's national broadcaster caused a stir when it showed a dolphin being dissected live on breakfast television.

Swedes flipper out at dolphin dissection on TV
Screenshot from SVT's Gomorron Sverige show.

The animal was one of two striped dolphins who died after they got stranded on a beach in Onsala on Saturday, near Gothenburg in western Sweden.

Dolphins are not uncommon in Sweden, but this species is usually found in much warmer climes than a Nordic winter.

“You can really wonder how they ended up here in February. Maybe they followed a school of fish and went astray,” biologist Anders M Nilsson of Gothenburg's natural history museum told Sweden's public broadcaster SVT earlier this week.

One of the dolphins. Photo: Anders M Nilsson/Göteborgs Naturhistoriska museum/Västarvet

The pair were taken to Sweden's National Veterinary Institute in Uppsala for an autopsy, designed to offer more information on how they got there. But on Thursday SVT caused an outrage among viewers when it decided it would be a good idea to broadcast the dissection live on its 'Gomorron Sverige' ('Good morning Sweden') show.

Not everyone agreed, and immediately took to social media to exclaim their dissatisfaction when one of the veterinaries put their knife to the dolphin's body in front of the SVT reporter's cameras.

“Choked on my coffee. An autopsy of a dead dolphin in the morning. Yuck!” wrote one person on Twitter.

“Macabre,” commented one, while another wrote: “I think most people DON'T want to see a dead dolphin being cut up on morning TV. What was the reporter thinking?”

However, others were quick to defend SVT.

One Twitter user argued: “Murder, violence, rape, sex, nudity and so on on TV but when a dolphin is dissected people scream. It's interesting.”

It gets a lot more gory than the screenshot we have published, so for those of you wanting to make up your own minds, you can watch the clip here from around two hours and 20 minutes in.

The Local has contacted SVT for a comment.

A Scandinavian zoo has previously caused similar uproar when it dissected lions and an antelopes in public, in front of a class of school children. But unperturbed staff at Odense Zoo in Denmark told The Local last month that they would continue the 20-year-old practice in the name of science and education.