We have already reported about the newly licensed veterinarian preparations in Italy and Spain. Similar product, containing diclofenac, killed 99% of the vulture populations in India and Pakistan within a few decades. MME/Birdlife sent a letter to the Secretaries for Environment, Nature Conservation, Food Chain Supervision and Agriculture Administration at the Ministry of Rural Development.
Directive 2001/82/EC allows any Member State to ask for the ban on any veterinarian medicine if it puts Community interest in danger. Therefore, Birdlife partner organizations have sent letters, similar to that of MME, to the appropriate, competent authority in the hope of preventing a crisis similar to that of the Indian subcontinent, these days.
Dr. András Rácz
Deputy State Secretary for Environmental Affairs
Dr. Lajos Bognár
Deputy State Secretary for Food Chain Supervision and Agricultural Administration
Ministry of Rural Development
Dear Deputy State Secretary
As the local representative of the Birdlife International, I would like to inform you that veterinarian products containing diclofenac have been licenced in Spain and Italy, which matter requires urgent steps to protect the populations of the vulture species of the European Union.
Populations of vulture species of India and Pakistan had suffered 99% decline due to the use of diclofenac, which caused kidney failure in the vultures being specifically sensitive to the active substance. Carcass of a single diclofenac treated animal can kill dozens of vultures. Moreover, the agent breaks down slowly being able to poison for several days after the treatment. India and Pakistan had banned the use of diclofenac based veterinarian products resulting in the stop of drastic decline giving way to slow regeneration of vulture populations there.
Safe, alternatives are readily available in veterinary practice. Similar agent is the meloxicam, which was tested in vultures and did not cause failure, however, the aceclofenac cannot be used because it transforms into diclofenac in the body, therefore it causes similar problems.
Europe hosts four vulture species. The Egyptian Vulture is on the verge of extinction, it is listed “Endangered”, while its relative the Black Vulture “Near Threatened” by IUCN. The populations of the other two species, namely the Griffon Vulture and the Bearded Vulture, could strengthen at some level due to conservation efforts in the past few decades, however, they had disappeared from certain areas or near to that. According to the EU’s Bird‘s Directive (2009/147/EC), all four species are protected and every Member State has an obligation to make every effort to protect their populations.
Our opinion is that licencing products containing diclofenac in Spain and Italy is based on a false study. We enclosed studies and other scientific materials about the effect of diclofenac on vultures prepared by Birdlife and other nature conservation organizations together with evidence of the transportation routes of the products within Europe.
2001/82/EC Directive enables any Member State to ask the ban on any veterinary product in case of threatening the interest of the Community. On the basis of The Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), the effect of the diclofenac on vultures is a sufficient cause to revoke its licence.
Therefore, we initiate proceedings to ban the use of diclofenac in veterinary practice since it poses a serious threat to nature including the protected vulture species! Furthermore, we would like to draw your attention to point out that there is a risk of licencing another dangerous substance, namely the aceclofenac , which should be avoided because the abovementioned reasons.
March 14th, 2014
Dr. Gergő Halmos