An Indiana science textbook for fourth graders will be withdrawn after outrage over an experiment that instructs children how to suffocate a kitten in a wooden box.
“No living thing can live without air for more than a few minutes,” it reads, according to a photo of the page, which was posted to Twitter and published by news outlets in India. “You can do an experiment. Take two wooden boxes. Make holes on the lid of one box. 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 the holes has died.”
The textbook, titled “Our Green World,” will no longer be distributed, according to Indian Express and other news outlets, including The Washington Post.
“A parent had called us a couple of months ago and asked us to remove the text from the book because it was harmful for children,” Parvesh Gupta of PP Publications, the publisher, told the news outlet. “We recalled books from our distribution channel and will come out with a revised book next year.”
The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations said in a statement provided to The Washington Post that the group was “shocked” when it learned of the matter and “swiftly” took it up with the publisher.
“We reached out to them and asked them to remove the illegal (and unethical) content advocating the cruel experiment on kittens, along with a few other points,” Arpan Sharma said in the statement released by the organization. “The publisher has responded back, committing to withdrawal of the book from all the distributors and refraining for selling the existing stock.”
“Animals are not ‘things’ for us to use,” the statement noted. “Instead, they are thinking, feeling individuals just like you and me and the children reading the textbook.”