NEW DELHI • An Indian publisher has caused a furore over a school textbook that encourages children to suffocate kittens as part of a scientific experiment.
The book, used in hundreds of private schools in India, includes an experiment in which two kittens are placed in separate boxes - only one of which has air holes.
"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," reads the book.
Animal rights activists said several schools have already pulled the offending page from the book, Our Green World.
They have also secured a promise from the publisher that the offending section will not be included in the next edition of the texbook.
"It might be stupid, but they were endangering the lives of the children and animals by citing such an experiment," said Ms Vidhi Matta, a spokesman for the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, yesterday.
Ms Matta said she was unaware of any students who actually conducted the experiment.
Indian textbooks have frequently made 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 led to a rise in dowries claimed by the families of bridegrooms.
One government textbook in central Chhattisgarh state blamed women for a rise in unemployment, while another textbook claimed that Japan had dropped nuclear bombs on the United States during World War II.