An Indian book publisher has sparked outrage after instructing schoolchildren to place kittens in a box and suffocate them as part of a scientific experiment.
The environmental science textbooks, designed for nine-year-olds, tells pupils to put two kittens in separate boxes, one with air holes and one without in order to witness what happens.
“The kitten inside the box without holes has died,” the instructions read.
Hundreds of schools in north India have been using the book since last April, the Associated Press reports.
The textbook is titled ‘Our Green World’ and was published by PP Publications, based in New Delhi.
“It might be stupid, but they were endangering the lives of the children and animals by citing such an experiment,” Vidhi Malla, spokeswoman for the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, told AFP.
Arpan Sharma, director of FIAPO, said in a statement to the Huffington Post UK: “As a voice for animal rights in India, we at FIAPO strongly feel that the seeds of compassion have be planted early on in childhood.
“The content in the said text book was being taught to class 4 students, which is ridiculous.
“We were shocked when we got to know about its issue and swiftly took the matter up with the publisher - PP Publications.
“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.
“The publisher has responded back, committing to withdrawal of the book from all the distributors and refraining for selling the existing stock.
“In fact, they have also stated that they will not reprint this content in any of their books, ever and will be mindful of things being published about animals.
“The issue is not only that the book advocated a cruel act, it is also to underline that animals are not “things” for us to use. Instead, they are thinking, feeling individuals just like you and me and the children reading the textbook.”
The first chapter titled “Living things breathe” reads: “No living thing can live without air for more than a few minutes. 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 holes has died.”
The experiment sparked outrage from concerned animal lovers.
On Friday the publisher announced the book was no longer being published and that it would not be prescribed for the new school year starting in April.
“A couple of months ago, some parents called and complained about the science experiment in the book,” said Parvesh Gupta, the publisher. “They said it was harmful for children and cruel to the animals.”