India bans import of reptile, mink, fox furs, chinchillas

The import of skins of reptiles, mink, fox and chinchillas has been banned by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade in an effort to save the lives of tens of thousands of endangered animals.

Union minister Maneka Gandhi had earlier written to minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman urging her to ban the import of exotic skins and put an end to cruelty to animals. The ministry of commerce later issued a notification in this regard. The ministry of environment and forests and climate change (MoEFCC ) and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) have supported the ban.

"We commend the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and MoEFCC for its firm commitment in abolishing the import of exotic skins ... the exotic fur, skin and leather industry slaughters, bludgeons and skins millions of animals every year in the name of frivolous fashion. Nations across the world are switching to cruelty-free alternatives and we are glad that India is gradually emulating similar policies to reduce and eliminate unnecessary pain and suffering to animals," Gauri Maulekhi, trustee of People for Animals and HSI/India's Government liaison, was quoted by the New Indian Express as saying, welcoming the ban.

PETA India's Nikunj Sharma welcomed the ban saying, "Today, with so many stylish and cruelty-free alternatives available, such as fake snake, mock croc, and faux fur, there's absolutely no need or justification for wearing animal skins or fur. Animals are not fabric, and we commend the government of India for recognising that fact."