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Evidence for the toxicity to vultures of NSAIDs other than diclofenac

The common and widespread veterinary use of diclofenac in past decades was the main cause of vulture declines in South Asia. However, diclofenac is not the only vulture-toxic Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) in use and thereby killing vultures.
Now that diclofenac is banned in South Asia and its veterinary use greatly reduced in the region, other vulture-toxic NSAIDs are competing with meloxicam for the former market share of diclofenac and thereby pose a real threat to the recovery of Asia’s critically endangered vultures.

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We have evidence for the toxicity to vultures of six NSAIDs other than diclofenac, namely: aceclofenac, carprofen, flunixin, ketoprofen, nimesulide and phenylbutazone.

We have presented this evidence in the summaries below, and we hope that these documents will assist decision makers bring about bans on all vulture-toxic NSAIDs in South Asia to allow vulture populations to recover.

Meloxicam remains the only known vulture-safe NSAID.

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Steps for banning veterinary drugs in India & Bangladesh - where we are

SAVE accords a very high priority to achieving bans on veterinary use of NSAIDs that have been proven to be toxic to vultures (see India policy summary). The bans on veterinary use of diclofenac in 2006 in India, Nepal and Pakistan and in 2010 in Bangladesh were important steps and were enacted by the governments with commendable speed. However, we know that further such steps are urgently needed to ban veterinary use of other NSAIDs toxic to vultures. Achieving such bans in the near future is vital. Some progress with this is being made in India, but Bangladesh has taken an important lead with its national ketoprofen ban.

Here we list the steps for achieving such a ban with the intention of making information on how to do it readily available. We welcome feedback on this document in case our list of steps is incorrect, incomplete or works differently in other SAVE member states

Steps document can be downloaded here.

SAVE acknowledges Vibhu Prakash, ABM Sarowar Dipu & Chris Bowden for compiling this information