Bans on two more veterinary drugs linked to vulture deaths in India
Recently, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has banned the production, sale and distribution of Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac and their formulations for animal use.
The ban has been made by a notification under Section 26A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
- Both these medicines are included in the three medicines which are considered fatal for vultures (vulture-toxic).
- Protectionists have been demanding a ban on both these drugs for a long time. Whereas the third medicine is Nimesulide which is not banned.
- There are six non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that are toxic to vultures.
- However, environmentalists and conservationists are appreciating the Union Health Ministry’s move to stop the veterinary use of these pesticides Aceclofenac and Ketoprofen and its formulations with immediate effect.
- It may be noted that in the year 2006, India had banned the use of diclofenac for veterinary medicine, because it was found to be poisonous for vultures.
- Conservationists later approached the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to raise the matter with the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on the other three drugs as well. A PIL was also filed in the Delhi High Court on this issue.
- Conservationists are suggesting meloxicam and tolfenamic acid as safer alternatives. Aceclofenac is converted to diclofenac in the bodies of larger animals, and vultures eat their carcasses.
- According to a recently published study by IVRI and colleagues, aceclofenac is converted to diclofenac in buffaloes, as it did in cows. This poses a threat to the already endangered Gyps vultures in South Asia.
- Although there are animal-safe alternatives on the market, more research is being done to provide safer alternatives and to establish the toxicity of nimesulide.
- It is a species of bird that eats dead animals, found mainly in tropical and subtropical regions.
- Vultures also play an important role in keeping wildlife diseases under control.
- There are 9 species of vultures found in India. Most of these nine species are in danger of extinction.
- The bearded, long-billed and oriental white-backed are protected in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The rest are protected under ‘Schedule IV’.
Source – The Hindu