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Overall Aims

The overall aim is to remove diclofenac and other untested veterinary drugs from veterinary use and the environment.

Immediate goals:

  1. Ensuring injectable human diclofenac is only marketed in vials (ampoules) of 3ml or smaller
  2. Veterinary painkillers that have not been safety-tested for vultures are not licensed or used in veterinary practice across Asia (eg ketoprofen, nimesulide)

Steps taken so far

In India the vulture advocacy programme was initiated in 2004 within the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) with Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) support. Ms Janki Teli is the vulture advocacy officer, building on groundwork by Dr Nita Shah. Work in Nepal has been led by Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN), where Mohan Chandra is building on work by Anand Chaudhary, and in Pakistan, Uzma Khan continues to oversee advocacy efforts there for WWF Pakistan. Meanwhile continued vigilance on diclofenac use is being undertaken across other South and South East Asian countries by others including WCS and the Bangladesh Bird Club. Respective Governments and how receptive they are to the importance of conserving vultures are in each case the crucial elements for taking the necessary steps needed. Below are listed some of the key steps and progress to date:

Jan 2006

An international meeting organised by MoEF in Delhi with key BNHS and RSPB input and support. This formalised recommendations on the priority to ban diclofenac and for vulture conservation breeding centres. This resulted in an Indian Government Vulture Action Plan being produced in April 2006. March 2005 National Board of Wildlife (India), chaired by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, gave a directive for veterinary diclofenac ban within a stipulated time frame.

Sept 2006

Manufacturing bans followed in Nepal and Pakistan.

May 2006

Drug Controller General of India issued directive to withdraw all licences to manufacture veterinary diclofenac within India by August 2006.

July 2008

Gazettement of ban in India made contravention of the diclofenac ban, including veterinary use, sale or manufacturing punishable by imprisonment.

Aug 2008

Directive from Drug Controller General of India for human diclofenac to be labelled ‘Not for veterinary use’.

March 2009

Nepal Government approved Vulture Recovery 5 year Plan.

Sept 2010

Diclofenac manufacturing ban of veterinary formulations announced in Bangladesh.

May 2012

A meeting between all four South Asian governments has been hailed by the SAVE partnership as giving more hope to endangered vultures than ever before. Government representatives from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal agreed to work together to save vultures at the meeting held in Delhi on 3-4 May 2012, and signed a Declaration outlining the main priority actions needed to secure the future of the three most threatened species.