India, March 26 -- Five national animal protection organisations have asked Union health minister Harsh Vardhan to shut illegal meat markets, unlicensed wildlife and pet markets with immediate effect.

In a joint letter to the minister, the People for Animals (PFA), Humane Society International/India (HSI/India), Mercy for Animals India Foundation (MFA), Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO) and Ahimsa Trust, said there are "unhygienic conditions" in which animals are raised and slaughtered/sold for food.

The letter also said the government should take "immediate action" against markets that do not follow food safety guidelines (FSSAI guidelines) to prevent the emergence of novel diseases and spread of the current ...