Schoolbook authors have been told not to write about sausages or pigs for fear of causing offense.
Leading educational publisher the Oxford University Press has banned authors from including anything that could be perceived as pork-related in their books, including the words ‘pigs’ and ‘sausages’.
The new rules, apparently aimed at avoiding offense among Jews and Muslims, emerged during a discussion about free speech on Radio 4’s Today program, according to Daily Mail.
It was immediately branded ‘nonsensical political correctness’.
Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood agreed that this was going too far.
“I absolutely agree,” he conceded. “That’s absolute utter nonsense. And when people go too far, that brings the whole discussion into disrepute.”
A spokesman for the Jewish Leadership Council chimed in, saying “Jewish law prohibits eating pork, not the mention of the word, or the animal from which it derives.”
The chief executive of campaigning group Index on Censorship, Jodie Ginsberg, said, “It is difficult to imagine any context in which images of everyday objects – like pigs – or the word itself should be banned from being used in a children’s book.”
Oxford Press, however, defended their decision, saying:
“Many of the educational materials we publish in the UK are sold in more than 150 countries, and as such they need to consider a range of cultural differences and sensitivities.”
They added that their guidelines exist because it needs to make its educational material available to as many people as possible.