In a landmark decision that will spare the lives of tens of thousands of animals from the exotic leather industry, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade has banned the import of skins of reptiles and fur of minks, foxes and chinchillas.
Animal rights bodies have hailed the decision by the Centre to ban such imports, saying that the country is now emulating other nations across the world in adopting “cruelty-free” alternatives to exotic skins.
The notification issued on January 3 comes in the wake of campaigning for a ban by People for Animals (PFA), Humane Society International/India (HSI/India) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Union Cabinet Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi wrote to Nirmala Sitharaman, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry on banning import of exotic skins. The Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change, and the Animal Welfare Board of India had supported the ban proposal.
‘Animals not fabric’
The trustee of PFA and HSI/India’s government liaison, Gauri Maulekhi, said: “We commend the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and MoEF for its commitment in abolishing import of exotic skins.”
“With so many alternatives available ... there is no need or justification for wearing animal skins or fur. Animals are not fabric and we commend the government for recognising that,” said Nikunj Sharma of PETA India.