Ask India to Ban Dangerous Cattle Drug

  • By: Judith B.
  • Target: Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture, India

Vultures might not be the most popular animal and they are certainly not the cutest but they are an essential part of the ecosystem, quickly demolishing health hazards in the form of animal carcasses. India has seen its vulture population plummet in the last few years and it’s all due to a dangerous cattle drug.

Over 99% of India’s vultures have disappeared in the last few years, and the reason is diclofenac, a painkiller.

India banned this drug for human use six years ago. It is still, however, used for cattle. Vultures eat dead cows and die as a result.

The result of mass vulture death is an increase in rat and feral dog populations, and the diseases they carry, including rabies. In a country as crowded, and in places as poor, as India, the human impact can be disastrous.

Ask India to ban this toxic drug completely.

We the undersigned ask that you begin a complete phase-out of the painkiller diclofenac, whose use for cattle is devastating India’s vulture population. The ecological and human consequences of this are near catastrophic, most notably with dead, rotting carcases now littering the country and the resulting rise in feral dog and rat populations. These animals carry diseases lethal to humans.

Aside from their own intrinsic importance and their crucial ecological role, vultures have cultural importance for the Parsee community, which can now no longer dispose of their dead in the traditional manner.

There are effective alternatives to diclofenac which are not toxic to vultures. It seems the only thing stopping a complete ban on this dangerous drug is pressure from the pharmaceutical companies.

Please put India’s people and environment first, not last, and start phasing out diclofenac immediately.

Thank you for your attention.

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