New painkiller for cattle may wipe out Indian vultures: Study

Mumbai, August 22, 2012, DHNS: ( DECCAN HERALD )

The critically endangered vultures in India are now facing potential danger from yet another mass-produced pharmaceutical painkiller called Aceclofenac administered to cattle, according to the latest issue of the globally acclaimed 'Journal of Raptor Research’.

    Overwhelming empirical evidence on the lethal effects of the painkiller called 'Diclofenac,' had recently forced the government to ban the usage of veterinary pain numbing drug.

However, even as Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have been making efforts to save the bird, the pharmaceutical company has silently introduced a new entrant in the category of veterinary painkiller.

  Reviewing the adverse impact on the bird, Pradeep Sharma from Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Science, Bikaner, in his paper, ‘Aceclofenac as a Potential Threat to Critically Endangered Vultures in India: A Review,’ has argued that the “new entrant bears a close structural and pharmacological resemblance to Diclofenac”.

  The new entrant in the veterinary field, according to Sharma, is a derivative of Diclofenac and gets metabolised into the same. The paper further points out, “A study demonstrating in vivo conversion of Aceclofenac into Diclofenac in cattle is important.

  Once proven then it will establish the exposure of vultures to Diclofenac.”

  The paper further stresses on the importance of drafting of a comprehensive environmental evaluation of all veterinary drugs by subjecting them to safety testing before licenses are granted to them. Sharma emphasises on the need for focussing on molecular structures of drugs which despite being in the grey area with regard to the toxicity, has managed to sneak in without being subjected to safety testing.

  The director of BNHS, Dr Asad Rahmani said, “For a safe natural environment for vultures in South Asia, banning the unsafe drugs hould be a priority.”

  In a recently held symposium in New Delhi, on the issue of painkillers being administered to livestock, four governments of South Asian countries came to a consensus that it is important to create and maintain a non-toxic environment for vultures.

  Message from mister Sudarshan Shukla  via Nature Drive