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Maha bans Aceclofenac to save last few species of vultures (Feb.)

 

Pioneer, Delhi, Monday 17th February 2014

According to experts, Aceclofenac is equally dangerous, as it metabolises into Diclofenac. The vulture species in South Asia, have suffered a catastrophic decline of about 99 per cent over the past decade. According to sources, Animal Husbandry Department of Maharashtra has written a letter to veterinarians across the State asking them not to prescribe the drug called Aceclofenac, as it can be potentially dangerous to vultures that feed on cattle carcasses. It has also distributed similar letter to all veterinary colleges.

The content of the letter is based on the findings of an independent research by Dr Pradeep Sharma who is working on vultures and studying on the negative impact of Aceclofenac on vultures. “Aceclofenac has been found to have dangerous impact to vultures, on similar lines as Diclofenac. We have been advocating all veterinary colleges across the country to stop using this drug to reduce the mortality levels among vultures,” said Dr Sharma. Dr Vibhu Prakash heading the Vulture Conservation Program of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), also stressed that Aceclofenac can have a further negative impact on the already declining population of vulture.

Hence, the Animal Husbandry Department should completely stop the use of this medicine on cattle, across the country, he said. According to BNHS director, Dr Asad Rahmani , in order to create a safe natural environment for vultures in South Asia, banning the unsafe drugs and safety testing of other potentially toxic drugs should be a priority. The four Governments of South Asian countries had already agreed on the importance of creation and maintenance of a non-toxic environment for vultures.

This was to be done by identifying and preventing the veterinary use of other unsafe veterinary drugs with similar toxicity as Diclofenac. Diclofenac was banned in India in 2006 after it was found that vultures were dying after they ate cattle carcasses treated with the drug. According to experts, vulture population in India has fallen by 98 per cent from 2003 to 2013 alone.