NEW DELHI: An Indian publisher has caused a furore with a school textbook that encourages children to suffocate kittens as part of a scientific experiment.
The book, which is used in hundreds of private schools in India, includes an experiment in which two kittens were placed in separate boxes -- only one of which had airholes. "Put a small kitten in each box. Close the boxes. After some time open the boxes. What do you see? The kitten inside the box without holes has died," read the text.
Animal rights activists said several schools had already pulled the offending page from the book, entitled "Our Green World". They have also secured a promise from the publisher that it will not be included in the next edition.
"It might be stupid, but they were endangering the lives of the children and animals by citing such an experiment," Vidhi Matta, spokesperson for the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, told AFP on Wednesday.
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Matta said she was unaware of any student actually conducting the experiment. Indian textbooks frequently make the headlines for their glaring mistakes and controversial content.
Last week a passage from a textbook in Maharashtra state caused outrage over its assertion that "ugly" and "handicapped" women had led to a rise in dowries claimed by the groom's family.
One government textbook in central Chhattisgarh state blamed women for a rise in unemployment, while another claimed that Japan had dropped nuclear bombs on the US during World War II.
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