INDIA, 6 JANUARY 2017 – The Director General of Foreign Trade in India, which comes under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has banned the import of skins of reptiles, chinchillas, mink and fox through a notification issued on 3 January.
According to Fur Free Alliance member Humane Society International (HSI), “Worldwide millions of minks and foxes are kept in filthy and wire-floored cages until they are gassed and finally slaughtered for their fur.” The methods used in fur factory farms across the world are remarkably poor and designed to maximize profits, always at the expense of the animals.
At present, India’s import policy allows import of “raw hides, skins, leather, fur skins” of reptiles, mink, fox and other fur skins (whole, with or without head, tail or paws). But they are subject to India’s Wild Life (Protection) act, 1972 and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
CITES is an international agreement between governments and it aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
Animal rights organisations had been urging the central government to take a clear stand on the issue and close the doors for trade in exotic skins. Union women and child development minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi had earlier written a letter to the Union commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighting the need to curb cruelty towards animals by prohibiting the import of exotic skins.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC ) and Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), India’s nodal body for animal welfare, also supported the need to bring in 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,” said Gauri Maulekhi, who is HSI India’s government liaison.