VULTURE CONSERVATION (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 - Env & Eco)

News-CRUX-10     4th August 2023        
output themes

Context: Experts who work on vultures have welcomed the Centre’s decision to prohibit the manufacture, sale and distribution of ketoprofen and aceclofenac. 

  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare banned the manufacture, sale and distribution of ketoprofen and aceclofenac and their formulations for animal use under section 26A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (23 of 40).

Key Points

    • There are in total six non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs toxic to vultures. 
    • The ban on usage of diclofenac in 2006, then in 2013 and now this one has a huge gap.
  • India’s vulture populations crashed in the 1990s due to the use of diclofenac, a pain reliever administered to cattle. 
  • Vultures feeding on cattle carcasses used to die extremely painful deaths as the drug entered their system.
  • In 2004, it was found that diclofenac was the cause of vulture deaths and that 97 percent of the population had been lost till then.
  • The main species affected were oriental white-backed vultures, long-billed vultures and slender-billed vultures.
  • That same year, the Indian government along with other agencies came up with a Vulture Recovery Plan which recommended banning the veterinary use of diclofenac, finding its substitute and set up conservation breeding centres for vultures.
  • The Vulture Recovery Plan was incorporated into the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2006. 
  • The use of diclofenac as a veterinary drug was banned in 2006 and gazetted in 2008. It was also recommended in the same notification that another drug, meloxicam should be used.
  • The Centre also restricted the vial size of diclofenac for human use to just three millilitres after it was found that people were using diclofenac meant for humans in cattle.