Ever since the legal marketing of Diclofenac in Italy and Spain in late 2013, the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) has researched the situation, established the current state of play, and promoted the building of a coalition of like-minded organisations to fight this threat. The VCF, together with the several other organisations have been advocating for the ban of veterinary drug Diclofenac in Europe, which is extremely lethal to vultures and is responsible for a major population decline of several vulture species in the Indian subcontinent.
Vultures may be exposed to the drug by feeding on the carcasses of animals, which have previously been treated with this veterinary drug. Its pernicious effect on vultures has been extensively documented on the Indian subcontinent, where the presence of diclofenac in only 1% of the carcasses of abandoned cows in the field led to the near extinction, 95-99%, of Gyps vultures in 20 years. Following this outcome, the veterinary drug has been banned from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, only to reappear legally in Europe. This posed a significant threat to Europe’s vultures whose populations have been steadily recovering following considerable investment by the EU, national governments and organisations like the VCF.
The campaign advocates for the ban of this harmful drug to opt for the use of alternatives available to vet Diclofenac that are safe before it is too late for Europe’s vultures.