This month, India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade banned the import of the skins of reptiles, mink, foxes, and chinchillas into the country. The impetus for the ban came from a collaborative effort between Humane Society International (HSI), People for Animals, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, urging the Indian government to take a clear moral stand on the issue. Union Cabinet Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi penned a letter to India’s Minister of State Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman encouraging the politician to take action, which garnered the support of the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change and Animal Welfare Board, eventually leading to the implementation of the ban. HSI’s Indian government liaison Gauri Maulekhi applauded the landmark decision to curb animal cruelty, stating, “The exotic skin, fur, and leather industry slaughters, bludgeons and skins millions of animals every year in the name of frivolous fashion.” Maulekhi added that many fashion designers—including former exotic skins brand ZINK—are switching to cruelty-free fashion alternatives, stating, “We are glad that India is gradually emulating similar policies to reduce and eliminate unnecessary pain and suffering to animals.”
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