January 15, 2015 3:26 pm

Pigs not banned from all kids’ books: Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press has responded to allegations that it has banned pigs or pork from its children's books.

AP Photo/Columbus Dispatch, Kyle Robertson
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TORONTO – Following media reports citing that international publisher Oxford University Press (OUP) had banned the placement of pigs or mention of pork in its children’s books, Oxford University Press issued a statement denying the allegations.

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In a comment piece for The Guardian titled “No, we haven’t banned books on pigs — but sensitivity is key in global publishing,” primary publishing director at OUP Jane Harley said that the publishing house has not banned books on pigs, but are sensitive to a variety of social and cultural issues when publishing for its international audience.

“In the UK, we take it for granted that we would not include references to sex, violence, or alcohol in our textbooks; to do so would be considered inappropriate and offensive to many,” she wrote. “In order to make an impact around the world, there are other sensitivities that, although not necessarily obvious to some of us, are nonetheless extremely important to others.”

Oxford’s publishing practices came into light after BBC Radio 4 Today host Jim Naughtie read a letter on air that advised an author to avoid mentioning “pigs plus sausages, or anything else which could be perceived as pork” due to possible cultural sensitivities in its overseas markets.

There are no mentions of this on Oxford University Press’ writers’ guidelines web page.

At then end of The Guardian comment, Harley quipped: “Will there be a moment when publishing for all audiences will be an easy process? Yes, I imagine so … when pigs fly.”

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