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Tintin in trouble: Congo book slammed

Friday, 3 February 2006 - 12:40am IST

PETA has raised an objection to the comic book being sold openly on book stands for “glorifying the hunting and ill-treatment of animals.”

MUMBAI: He wanted to save Snowy, but landed himself in trouble. Tintin, the young reporter made immortal by the late Belgian writer-illustrator Herge, is likely to be slammed by city animal rights activists over the way he kills and mistreats wild animals in ‘Tintin in the Congo’—the latest in the 24-part French comic series to be released in English worldwide.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India have raised an objection to the comic book being sold openly on book stands for “glorifying the hunting and mindless ill-treatment of animals.”

The foreword to the book by translators Leslie Lonsdale Cooper and Michael Turner states, “He (Herge) himself admitted that he depicted the African people according to the bourgeois, paternalistic stereotypes of the period—an interpretation that some of today’s readers may find offensive”, and adds that “the same could be said of his treatment of big-game hunting”.

Notwithstanding that, PETA India is training its guns against the publishers of the book in English.

“The comic is replete with instances that send a message to young minds that it is acceptable to be cruel to animals,” says Anuradha Sawhney chief functionary PETA India.

“Tintin is a hero for children around the world and the book glorifies hunting. I wonder if the publishers know that studies have shown that children who are cruel to animals often grow up to be violent human beings,” she argues citing instances from the book when Tintin skins a monkey to save his dog Snowy.

At another point, he ruthlessly kills a herd of antelopes, buns the head of an elephant before shooting him and rips open the stomach of a Boa Constrictor and stuffs the tail of the snake into its own mouth.

However, Tintin Lovers in the city are lapping up the concluding Tintin adventure at book stores.

DNA visited the Crossword book-store in Juhu to find that the comic had sold out.
“There are about seven copies left at the Kemp’s Corner branch and about 30 at the one at Andheri,” said a salesperson at the store.

India Book House(IBH), the distributors of all Tintin  comic adventures in India, refused to comment on the issue.

“We cannot comment on the contents of the book as that right rests solely with the publishers, Egmont, based in Spain,” said a spokesperson from IBH.

“We are corresponding with our branches in various countries as the book is published by a different publisher for editions in various languages. Once we decide the legal course to be adopted, this shall be an international campaign against the publishers,” says Sawhney.

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