Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Thursday criticised the Environment Ministry for allowing the state governments to kill animals, reported ANI. The minister, who also takes on animal rights causes, said she could not understand the environment ministry's ‘lust for killing’.

In December last year, the Environment Ministry had passed a memorandum allowing states to treat wild animals that destroy crops as vermin and grant permission to kill them. It is unclear why Gandhi took up the issue on Thursday.

She alleged that the Environment Ministry, headed by Prakash Javadekar, has issued letters to every state, allowing the killing of animals like elephants, wild boars and monkeys.

The West Bengal government has sought permission to kill elephants while Himachal Pradesh wants to get rid of monkeys and the Goa government wants to kill peacocks, said the minister. On March 14, the Central government had declared monkeys vermin for a period of six months in Himachal Pradesh. This was done after the state authorities alleged that the "monkey menace" was affecting the tourism sector.

Last year, Javadekar had said that in areas where farmers are facing huge problems because of animals that cause "nuisance", such as blue bull and wild boar, they can be declared vermin for a particular span of time. "We will give states the permission to kill such animals," he had said.