back to article Three Little Pigs book deemed offensive to Muslims

A digital book based on the story of the Three Little Pigs has been rejected by judges presiding over the annual BETT awards of the government's educational technology tentacle, Becta, because the literary deployment of porkers "raises cultural issues". The CD-Rom - produced by Newcastle-based Shoo-fly - is aimed at primary …


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  1. Dan

    poor old muslims!

    always copping the shitty end of the stick.

  2. Rich

    Oh, for fuck's sake !!

    Well, they're right about one thing - not all builders ARE cowboys; some of them don't bother turning up at all !!

  3. Lupus


    So how many people in these "might possibly at some time be offended mslightly maybe" categories actually complained?

    Or did they simply not get the chance to voice their opinion on the matter?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Something useful....

    We should round up all of these fluffy-bunny PC liberal do-gooder tree-hugging arseholes and render them down into free bio-diesel for the 3rd world.

    That's about the only way these cretins would ever contribute to world harmony.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speaking as someone half of whose family is muslim....

    ... this is just bloody mental.

  6. Peter D'Hoye


    Politicians keep telling that a multicultural society is a good thing, this event clearly shows its dangers. If this goes through, our culture will not become 'the collection of all' but 'the little stuff we have in common and that offends nobody'.

    A poor culture if you ask me.

  7. Kaiwai

    Pathetic, really is

    My perspective (I'm a Muslim myself), this is pathetic. Political correctness gone mad to satisfy white middle class guilt of a few. Its a friggin story about a pig - no one forcing you to eat bacon!

  8. James

    "mostly practising teachers"

    "mostly practising teachers"

    says it all.

    Just an idea, shouldn't they be actually teaching rather than engaging in social engineering?

    I suppose "little" is offensive to short people and I'm surprised they singled out the the pig for particular attention, I would like any kind farmed animal raised for human consumption would be offenseive to vegatarians as well.

    It'll be "Three Irrelevantly Sized Animals of Various Domesticated and Non-Domesticated Species" soon.

  9. Steve Mason


    having worked at Becta (contractor thankfully) I can sadly report that half the time the organisation doesn't know it's arse from it's elbow.

    and I fully agree these elbow-holes should be rounded up and locked away - WE DON'T NEED PROTECTING... if something's offensive to a particular person, they shouldn't bloody well read it! End of!

    do we really need to be dictated to regarding material that we might possibly find offensive, but probably not if we have at least a few braincells to bang together

  10. Anonymous Coward


    No-good do-gooding BECTA bureaucrats offend my culture - ban the b*stards.

  11. Kenneth Ross

    BECTA - censorship of Three Little Pigs part of bigger conspiracy

    Thought I'd come across Becta before - Of course, they are the folks who still believe schools should not expose students to the latest Microsoft products (ie., strongly against schools installing Office 2007 - and, I suppose, Vista too). Shame - because it's what they will likely be using in the work place.

    Now, it's just struck me - Becta's real enemy is not the Three Little Pigs - it's actually Little Red(mond) Riding Hood!

  12. Smallbrainfield

    I think I hear the sound of Richard Littlejohn

    bursting apart trying to type "You couldn't make it up!!!" Well here's hoping.

    It is rather daft, though.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree with the ruling...

    and I can say even more. Those 3 pigies living happily ever after in the mortar house sounds like sodomy to me.

    Think of the children, FFS!

    And while they are at it, they should ban Snow White. I mean, lets be real folks, who would believe the "dwarves" arent actually children slaved away at the mines, not to mention the innuendo about their evil thesphiatrix *needs* after dinner being tended to (Rammstein has a good reference on the song Mutter's videoclip).

    And that's not even mentioning that sicko of a prince having his way with a dead girl. Nechrophilia!

    Think of the children!

  14. Ferry Boat

    This is terrible

    What about the offence pigs give to Jewish people?

  15. Paul Brandon

    Tell me if I'm wrong...

    But don't Muslims just frown upon the eating of pig based products and not the right of pigs to exist and build shelter for themselves? In fact in the original story they avoid getting eaten, wouldn't that give it a pro-muslim bias?

    I for one call for rebellion against our PC Nazi overlords!

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Read instead: "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs"...

    I’ve never seen the CD-ROM in question but if you want another very funny derivative tale based on The Three Little Pigs, then read “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith.

    It’s told from the perspective of the wolf, who claims that his alleged misdeeds were a misunderstanding and media spin! It’s probably a good story for teaching kids about the failures of the media, but also very funny for adults as well…

  17. Ash


    I thought the pigs made it to the third brick-made house and were all safe in the end, as the wolf couldn't blow it down?

    Maybe I got the hippie version.

    Damn hippies.

  18. Adam Williamson
    Paris Hilton

    Complainers: did you read it?

    Note to everyone complaining: have you actually read it?

    I'm betting not.

    Then you're just as bad as Mary Whitehouse.

    If you haven't read it, shut up, you don't have a clue what you're talking about. For all you know, it could be incredibly offensive. It's clearly not a traditional re-telling of the story (the title should be a somewhat obvious clue to that), so if you haven't read it, you have no idea what its contents are or how offensive they might be to anyone, and therefore are in no position to pass judgment on the stance of the judging panel...

    Paris because the knee-jerk "political correctness" whiners are displaying exactly as much intelligence as she usually does.

  19. Risky

    Is Becta necessary

    I've had a browse of thier site and am at a loss what this organisation does apart from provide cushy jobs for education establishment types and spend £42m a year presumably turning trees into strategy documents.

    Fire the lot of them and see anyone notices.

  20. Mark Broadhurst

    Veggie safe stories is what we need.

    I also think we should remove all stories invoving anything but characters with vegitables in. That way people wont be concerened with eating other people.

    Do story tellers realise they are rasing a generation of canabals ?

  21. Cameron Colley

    Personally, I would find the committee offensive.

    If I were a Muslim I'd be offended that a committee thought I was brain-dead enough to be offended by a children's story about talking pigs being eaten by a wolf.

    As for builders -- having worked on building sites in my youth I can say that, unless they've changed considerably, it would take more than calling them pigs or cowboys to offend builders.

  22. Ben Cross

    @ Ash


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm muslim,

    and I'm not offended. Did the morons ask any muslim? It's not like they're having a gang bang with the wolf in the straw house!

    Also good point Ferry Boat, why only muslims and not jews? Get a grip people, I'm sure blacks are not offended by Snow White being (gasp!) white!

  24. Pieter Vos
    Dead Vulture

    Who said writers don't have hard jobs...

    Next of course, you can't put people in stories because if the protoganist is caucasian, it's racist to black people and Asian people, if he/she/it (trying to stay politically correct) is black, it will insult the other races etc...

    I personally think this culture of over political correctness will only lead to more problems, as people will be afraid to talk to people of other races/religions/nationalities for fear of offending them.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    The knit your own tampon brigade is back

    The knit your own tampon brigade is back.

    We need greenham common or something to occupy the minds of these dangerous subversives.

  26. Jim Halfpenny
    Paris Hilton

    Spare a thought for the pigs

    Is no one concerned that pigs cop it ill from all sides? Who will defend my right to like pigs in the face of religious zealots who would have me believe otherwise!


  27. Matt Bradley

    Oscar Wilde

    "Oh! it is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what

    one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern

    culture depends on what one shouldn't read."

    The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde.

  28. Scott Evil

    Civil War

    This is just seems like an attempt at adding frustration to the population, making the traditional english folk naturally hate other races or creed that are now Uk citizens themselves.

    I bet most couldnt give two hoots about all the "correctness".

    Somebody seems to want the Uk to be at war with itself,perhaps banks want dissaray perhaps land owners?

    Who knows,it all seems suspiciuos to me.

    Seriuosly though, its rediculous to think that something so innocent should be banned like this.Im sure people agree.

    Where as games on the Xbox for example, in COD4 you spend your time on the American missions shooting and killing Middle Eastern enemies who are known to practice the Muslim reigion,how do these miss the corrective radar?

    COD4 is a top selling game, or was.

  29. Chris Jones-Gill

    Baa Baa BlackSheep

    This rhyme is offensive in so many ways it must be purged from society, or re-written to conform to my white middle class guilt filled perspective on what would offend other people/cultures - who obviously need my help to point this out as they have only just come down from the trees, or out of the sand, or wherever they come from - I must ask the tea boy.

    Baa Baa Black Sheep,

    Have you any wool?

    Yes Sir, Yes Sir

    3 Bags full.

    One for the Master,

    One for the dame,

    One for the little boy

    who lives down the lane.

    Line by line analysis

    1. You cannot say black, thats racially biased. Green is only valid until there is positive proof that aliens are green.

    2. Nothing outrageous here, although if you are black you might have stolen the wool from a nice middle class white sheep.

    3. Sir? Gender biased, elitist, racist - not all cultures refer to senior men as Sir

    4. Using 3 in the line could offend other mobile network operators

    5. Master? reinforces class structure, is elitist and gender biased as master is first in line for the wool. There is no payment negotiated, so this must be a tithe to the land-owner.

    6. Dame? Dame also reinforces class bias, or could be seen as anti-feminist by implying that females are pantomime characters with masculine features

    7. Little Boy is sexist, why not girl? Little?? offensive to short people.

    8. Can't say Down the lane, that would be elitist. Implying that people higher up the lane are more important.

    === New Version ===

    Baa Baa Green Sheep,

    Have you any Wool?

    Yes person, yes person

    An indeterminate number of Bags full.

    Enough for a person to purchase at a fair price,

    and enough for another,

    and for another irrespective of where they live.

  30. Matt Bradley

    Oscar Wilde

    "Oh! it is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what

    one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern

    culture depends on what one shouldn't read."

    The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde.

    "Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault"

    Prologue to The picture of Dorian Gray - ...erm... Oscar Wilde.

  31. call me scruffy

    I agree, this story should be banned,

    It's such a poor lesson, clearly the third piggy, who built his house out of good old bricks and mortar was not actually a cowboy, as evidenced by his Competent and Timely completion of the Project, meeting suitable requirements, and using appropriate materials.

    To teach children that such a professional display of discipline and craftsmanship constitutes a "cowboy" is misleading in the extreme and will harm there ability to make proper value judgements.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    A friend of mine was part of the gay/lesbian group at the college we attended. It was suggested that they make snowmen for fun. Then it was changed to snow-person. That wasn't correct enough and it worked its way to snow-per-child. What started out as an event to unify a group caused a bunch of bitter people because someone didn't tell someone to grow up.

    Now, I understand semantics, but sometimes a story about three little pigs building houses and, along with the wolf, talking to each other (WHICH THEY DO NOT DO IN REAL LIFE) needs to be taken in a literary context.

    No one censors the religious books of the big three easily offended religions for incestual rape, slavery, child murder... to the level that this has gone. And these texts are pawned as being true.

    People say offensive stuff all the time. Better to deal with it in the open than to pretend it doesn't exist.

    Someone of Paris' intelligence would be able to see that.

  33. Magnus Egilsson
    Thumb Down

    @ Adam The Willie

    You are politically correct about that. Lets hide everything that might provoke the slightest human emotion from the society and create drone land where I suspect you will be king amongst equals.

  34. adnim Silver badge

    ban everything..

    that could, maybe, possibly cause offence to anybody.

    Do any of these protectors of our sensibilities ever consider context?


    I find quite a few things offensive. This government, advertising, organised religion, 4x4 drivers, paying taxes to finance the war in Iraq and torturing animals to test cosmetics for instance. So what happens when I get offended eh? Nothing, it's just tough shit because my ideals are not mainstream and I'm not an ethnic minority. What can I do about it without abusing others? I tolerate, inform and resist where I can.

    Could it be that in some instances those that deem x,y or z to be offensive actually need to modify their behaviour and just stfu. So what if one finds some words or imagery offensive. Aw diddums, do those nasty words and pictures hurt? Well I can think of quite a few things that would hurt a whole lot more, and usually do. Things like an over zealous and out of proportion reaction.

    There are people murdering others out there because they were "offended". Causing offence seems to be a good excuse to physically abuse those that are different or think differently because they criticised a culture, doctrine, way of life, religion or any plain old bullshit that the self righteous spout. Why don't the offended just try shrugging of the interpreted offence instead and get on with living?


  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They must have been smoking some serious stuff. As they probably read it as 'Whose afriad of the big bad Muslim? Big bad muslim! Big bad muslin!'

    PS. The book wouldnt have won educational awards if its content was questionable. If you check out websites which cover the CD-ROM you'll see there's nothing there whicb indicates that this is much more than a bit of a satire of the original story. But PC in this day and age when it comes to anything Muslim related goes overboard. It's the new black (bad pun intended!).

  36. HFoster
    Thumb Up


    Hear, hear!

  37. Anonymous Coward

    We'd save all this trouble ...

    .... if all books were written in binary!

  38. Graham

    Well I did provide "feedback" to Becta

    saying that I found their attitude to a story that's been told to Britons over the centuries "culturally offensive".

    Unsurprisingly the response I got was the canned one that both the Beeb and El Reg seem to have received which simply confirms my view that a. it's run by a bunch of morons and b. they don't care what anyone else thinks, they have their view and you will all subscribe to it (weirdly typing that conjures up an image of a Becta press officer taking on the form and mannerisms of Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove).

    It's a good book... you should read it :)

    Perhaps they should too!

  39. David Ramsden
    Thumb Down

    Why aren't the Police complaining?

    They always refer to the Police as farmyard animals in The Bill, why aren't they conplaining?

  40. Bounty


    No I didn't read the book in question, but I did read the article, did you?

    It clearly states "the literary deployment of porkers "raises cultural issues"." This is the reason people have a problem with Bacteria, or whatever it's called. I could understand 'cultural issues' with the literary deployment of bad porn or something in childrens books... pigs however...................... good grief.

    I chose the alien as my avatar, to provoke more cultural issues. It represents {}

  41. Dale Harrison
    Thumb Down

    No common sense AGAIN !

    Number one - I'm not racist. There are nasty white people just as there are nasty muslims (or frenchmen or jews... whatever). I take people as they are and judge from there. It does piss me off that people are banning all this sort of stuff because it might offend someone. No-one bans stuff because it *might* offend me!

    I do wonder if the tables were turned and "the minority" group becomes the majority and thus I become one of the minorites. Are the new majority going to start banning stuff that offends or might offend ME? I'd be surprised.

    If I move to another country and/or raised there, I would expect to have to respect their culture. Not necessarily follow it as such, but respect others wishes at least.

    e.g If muslims don't want to take part in Christian Xmas celebrations then that's OK - they shouldn't be forced, but they shouldn't involuntarily contribute to a ban on Santa or Jesus because some english MP pratt (or whatever) is scared of offending someone.

    P.S. It's good that the muslim and other contributors on here agree that it's nuts. Shame that the people who invent this madness don't take note.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    This is correct

    I myself am not a muslim but do find this to be extremely offensive. We should be more sensitive in the world to the feelings of all animals and creatures that inhabit this planet. A story of pigs to some can be a vile and inconsiderate way of telling a story. We need to make sure that children are not led down the wrong path by these heartless stories of the past.

    We should reflect on more peaceful and sensitive topics like Americans invading Iraq and killing the 'terrorists' next to the innocent, the Globalization of our world economy with its "benefits", the World Bank and its power over 3rd world politics/economies, the WTO and its ability to supercede all local law in the interest of companies, the proliferation of voting via insure online and electronic methods to get the "right" politician in office, the U.S.'s love and massive overuse of petrol and how it seems to think this gives it a right to make everyone else play by its rules.

    If you have not noticed, the first part of my comment is crap. There are way too many other Britney-KFed-Death-Murder_Nudity stories that tabloids follow already. Go to TMZ or other trash outlets if you want that. This story has no business being on The Register and provides absolutely no value other than to point out another idiot that has been given a voice on this planet.

    That is all.

  43. Hussein

    Im a muslim

    This was my first ever book. i loved it, and i still have it somewhere..

    spiders are also sacred in Islam, incey winsie spider.. ALMOST DROWNS TRYING TO CLIMB UP A DRAIN PIPE, was one of my favourite nursery rhymes.

  44. Adam Williamson



  45. LaeMi Qian Bronze badge

    Well if these so-called teachers...

    ...weren't getting their egos off by (figuratively) burning books (and other media) at the least imagined slight against people they would avoid if they encountered them in society, they would have more time to spend TEACHING YOUR KIDS!!

    Think about it!

    (I have a B.Teach(primary), and I met the embryonic of the type going through with me - SHUDDER: theres a bunch that need adding to the 'danger to children' lists if ever there was)

  46. Janus

    Simple solution:

    They should replace the pigs with something that Muslims couldn't possibly be offended by, like teddy bears. Oh, wait...

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Political Correctness Gone Mad

    I emailed them on their website and I got fluffy marketing message back:

    "Unfortunately we believe that Becta has been misrepresented and suggest that you look at the joint press statement from the BETT award partners, who are BESA, the trade association representing the educational supply industry, Emap Education, the organisers of BETT – the largest educational technology show in the world – and Becta.

    In essence, BETT award entries are judged by an independent panel of more than 70 judges of whom the majority are practising teachers. These judges review the entries based on a range of criteria including design, cost-effectiveness, support of higher order thinking skills, alignment and relevance to curriculum and effective learning and teaching styles. The feedback from these independent judges is provided to companies that have entered products for their consideration. The reason ‘The Three Little Cowboy Builders’ from Shoo Fly Publishing was not shortlisted was that it failed to reach the required standard across a number of criteria. The feedback makes clear that the issues recently highlighted in the press were a small selection from a much broader range of comments. In particular, the product was not sufficiently convincing on curriculum and innovation grounds to be shortlisted.

    The BETT Awards are designed to represent the values and requirements of the teaching community and the education sector as a whole. To this end the awards are judged by teachers and others involved within the education sector and their views are transparently reflected as a part of the judging process."

    They included the following link:

    I say that there must be some truth in the news article otherwise theregister would not have posted it. It is political correctness like this that breaks down the relationship between different communities with different beliefs.

  48. merv rodgers

    but just brick co puffery

    The three little pigs story was produced as a PR by one of the brick companies


  49. Fozzy
    Black Helicopters


    I am surprised they haven't gone further and banned the rest of the old childrens stories, because seriously where else could you read about, paganism, murder, cruelty in all it's forms, random acts of violence, the seven deadly sins, cannabalism, and slavery

    You get all this is the bible stories for children too, with eternal damnation thrown in for free

    Man you can't beat the classics can you

  50. Paul Murray
    Thumb Up

    For all you know

    "If you haven't read it, shut up, you don't have a clue what you're talking about. For all you know, it could be incredibly offensive. "

    Beaten to it again. For all we know, it really is a not-so-subtle canning of the building industry in general, and builders in particular.

    And as for "no-one is forcing you to read it", if you are a 5-year-old in a school, someone most certainly is. Need I point out to all the libertarians and right wingers that teachers in state schools are employees of the government and agents of the state? People without means have no option but to send their children along to be indoctrinated, like it or not. So yes, I'd rather have them err on the side of caution.


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