SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The Indian government earlier this month banned the import of exotic skins and reptiles like crocodiles and alligators, and animals like fox, mink and chinchillas.

“Tens of thousands of exotic animals like crocodiles, alligators, fox, minks and others are held captive in factory farms for their fur and skin (across the world),” said a release from the NGO, Human Society International.

Currently, India’s policy allows for the import of “raw hides, skins, leather and fur skins,” of reptiles, mink, fox. However, they are subject to India’s Wild Life Protection Act, which was signed in 1972, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known simply as CITES. It’s an international agreement between governments and aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

Animal rights advocates have for some time urged India’s central government to take action and a clear stand on the issue, and have asked the government to close the door of exotic skin trades. 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.

See the Ministry’s letter to the government here, as well as the final ruling here.