Diclofenac - the Vulture killing drug - is now available on EU market. This drug is known to kill vultures even in very small amounts . Diclofenac is used for veterinary purposes, for example for treating cows and pigs, vultures are at risk when they eat the carcasses.
In December last year, the European Medicines Agency confirmed that European vultures are at risk when they eat the carcasses, and has in their scientific opinion concluded that the withdrawal of Diclofenac is the only option that completely removes the risk to vultures.
The authorization of Diclofenac in Spain and Italy represents a major threat to all vulture populations in Europe, and possibly in Africa as well. It is even worse given the fact that it was recently discovered that the drug is toxic to eagles too. Emblematic species such as the Spanish Imperial Eagle, could also be killed by this drug
There are effective alternative drugs that can replace diclofenac and that are safe to vultures and eagles. The Convention on Migratory Species has therefore last year strongly advised all countries to ban veterinary use of diclofenac
Vultures are tremendously important animals, who clean up carcasses and thus stop the spread of disease. In India, the veterinary use of diclofenac was banned after scientists proved that it was killing its vultures. In the absence of vultures, there was an explosion in the number of feral dogs, and also an increase of rabies cases.
The European Commissioners Andriukaitis and Vella are the only ones who can ban the veterinary use of this drug in the European Union. They need to start the process for this as soon as possible.
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