The beauty of vultures, the extremely important ecosystem services they provide, and the danger of veterinary diclofenac – on tv


The film also mentions the potential danger represented by veterinary diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug, harmless to humans, that can potentially kill vultures. It’s use is unnecessary, since there are equally effective veterinary alternatives.

Vultures may be exposed to veterinary diclofenac 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 – a 99% decline – of five species of Vultures. Its use is now banned in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Iran and Pakistan, and this has slowed the decline of vultures there.

Bearded Vulture

Despite this catastrophe, the veterinary use of diclofenac is permitted both by the European Union and by the national governments of Spain and Italy. In Portugal, the authorities are assessing a request for a permit. In 2014, and triggered by an earlier campaign, the EU´s own European Medicine Agency “confirmed that vultures and other necrophagous birds in the European Union may be at risk due to residues of diclofenac if they feed on carcasses of animals that have been treated with this medicine”, and described the two scenarios where this is possible.

The Vulture Conservation Foundation, SEO/BirdLife, SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal), BirdLife Europe and WWF have re-launched a campaign to ban veterinary diclofenac in Europe – in particular in Spain, Italy and Portugal, the three European Union countries where most of the continent’s vultures live.

The new campaign, featuring a dedicated web site and a petition campaign calling for citizen support ( ) brings together all updated information on the approval, commercialization and risks posed by vet diclofenac in Europe as well as a clear appeal and message for civil society to mobilise and protect Europe’s vultures.

Please visit  and sign the petition!

This article was first published by the Vulture Conservation Foundation 14 August 2017

1 comment to The beauty of vultures, the extremely important ecosystem services they provide, and the danger of veterinary diclofenac – on tv

  • Trapit

    Brilliant,an English version would be nice,nevertheless the point is well made,ban diclofenac in Europe. I signed the petition a while ago,please everyone else who reads this do the same before it is too late.

    I can remember being in the Georgian Caucasus mountains, with Terry Pickford and the boys from Bowland in 1998,seeing an Egyptian vulture chick in the nest,followed a few days later by a Bearded vulture ( I prefer Lammergeier), soaring through a mountain pass, almost at eye level.

    In 2002, most of the same crew were in the Spanish Sierra de Gredos mountains.
    We had over two hundred vultures,mainly Griffon with a handful of Black,sat around some grassy springs high up on a mountainside.
    These are sights that stay in the minds eye for ever,let’s hope future generations have the chance of such memories.