Toy pig pulled from farm set on religious grounds

A retailer withdrew a toy pig from a children's farm set to avoid the risk of causing offence on religious grounds, it emerged today.

A mother who bought the Early Learning Centre's (ELC) HappyLand Goosefeather Farm for her daughter's first birthday contacted the store after finding that the pig was missing, the Sun newspaper reported.

The £25 set contained a model of a cow, sheep, chicken, horse and dog but no pig, despite there being a sty and a button which generated an "oink".

But ELC chiefs have since decided to reintroduce the pig, with parents who have bought the set invited to get the toy from the company's website.

The mother, named only as Caroline, posted about her experience in a forum on parenting website Netmums.

She wrote: "Checked the box and discovered that there isnt a piggy. Went online, nope no piggy. So I emailed ELC and the response that I had makes my blood boil...(The ELC wrote) 'Previously the pig was part of the Goosefeather farm however due to customer feedback and religious reasons this is no longer part of the farm."'

Caroline added: "This is political correctness gone loopy. On what basis did they remove it?

"This is as bad as no more 'baa baa black sheep' or other such things. Stuff like this is just insipid, it worms its way into every aspect of our lives and we just let it happen. Surely if someone has issue with a toy that they don't agree with, then don't buy it!"

A mother called Chouli responded: "Does it have a disclaimer on it, though? 'Pig sold seperately (sic)'? Perhaps they keep a stash of them in the back somewhere in brown paper bags?"

And another named Safiyyah said: "I'm Muslim and it doesn't bother me. It's just another animal.

"What are the store going to do next? Ban the Peppa Pig cartoon? Stop selling books with pigs in? This is a multi-cultural country."

The ELC later said it had decided to reinstate the pig.

A spokeswoman said: "ELC is a truly global brand, which means we need to be aware of the full range of customer expectations and cultural differences. The decision to remove the pig from our Goosefeather Farm set was taken in reaction to customer feedback in some parts of the world.

"We recognise that pigs are familiar farm animals, especially for our UK customers. Taking on board all the customer feedback, we have taken the decision to reinstate the pig and to no longer sell the set in those international markets where it might create an issue.

"Any customers who have bought Goosefeather Farm in the last few months will be able to order a pig free of charge to complete their set via our website in the coming weeks."