I'm sure you all know that today is International Vulture Awareness Day.
If you've ever wondered (and who hasn't?) why Vultures are so important, how come the eat more than all the savannahs big cats put together or why a Vulture was once arrested in Saudi Arabia this is the article for you.
The last time I read of this, though banned, the Indian ban was totally ineffective. They were looking to force human available diclofenac and associated meds to only be available in smaller dose packaging so as to make it cost ineffective for the human packages to be used to treat cattle instead of the vulture safe alternative. Not sure how far they got with that.
Yes you're right. It's generally accepted that the use of diclofenac has been greatly reduced in India but has not been completely removed due to black market human grade diclofenac being administered to some cattle.
The good news is the piece of legislation you refer to designed to ban large doses of diclofenac being sold was brought in and has been enforced since the 17th of July last year.
> Sacred arthritic cow vs filthy sky rat. Cultural hot potato, "catch!"
Where I live we have, and regularly see, Egyptian vultures, Bearded Vultures and Griffon Vultures.
There is a reintroduced population of Cinereous Vulture / European Black Vulture here in the Pyrenees, but I've not seen those.
None of them are disease spreaders, and none of them are filthy.
All of them are amazing creatures when you get to watch them closely.
In reply to Asher Collins: When I visited India in the 1970's the sky was full of vultures. They circled the skies like seagulls fly around our cliffs and like rooks and crows at harvest time. There were so many I could not count them.
I went to India last year. I saw two.
A vulture lays one or perhaps two eggs a year and they don't mature until a few years old. It will be years if ever, they recover to former numbers.
Whilst I too think the introduction of Diclofenac in Europe is a bad thing (mainly because of the 'double standards' message it sends to the third world), there are some very important differences that mean it probably won't cause the same issue here that it does in India.
Firstly, in Spain and Italy there are EU regulations that require incineration of animal carcasses.
Dead cattle aren't left lying around for the vultures to eat in the same way they routinely are in India.
Secondly, the sort of livestock that do end up lying dead on a hillside (think of the equivalents of sheep and ponies in the Carneddau) won't be ones that someone has spent lots of money on painkillers for (Diclofenac will mainly be used for pneumonia and mastitis in closely monitored production animals, or as a longer term arthritis treatment in 'pet' horses).
In India the problem arises mainly because of the religious issues around 'sacred' cows, which cannot be slaughtered and so have to be kept alive (with long term painkillers such as Diclofenac or Meloxicam if necessary) as long as possible and as they are often not owned and allowed to wander the carcasses usually end up consumed by vultures.
In reply to Ron Rees Davies: I'm glad we agree the use of diclofenac is a bad move. I agree it sends a message of double standards.
For the cultural and legal reasons you state it's unlikely that treated carcases will form as large a part of a Vultures diet in Europe as they do in India. The figers I've seen (link below) put the decline between 1 and 7.5% per year (griffin Vultures), whilst that wouldn't lead to as rapid as a decline as was seen in south Asia it would still be a major threat to the population.
To me it seems crazy not to follow south Asia in banning diclofenac when we have the physical evidence of their success in front of us.