Wild adult white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) in flight.Pinjore, Haryana, India

Important court victory for vultures

  • 40 million vultures killed by diclofenac
  • 99.9% white-backed vultures gone
  • £36,000 per year to run vulture breeding centres
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Ban upheld on sale of Diclofenac in India

There’s great news for Asian vultures in India.  Madras High Court has upheld the ban of multi-dose vials of human diclofenac, to protect against its illegal use by veterinary practitioners. Your support has made this victory possible. Thank you. Here’s the story behind this crucial case.

Oriental White-backed Vulture pair perched in tree

The story so far

2003

Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory treatment for livestock, is discovered to be the main cause of catastrophic vulture decline in India. The birds were eating the carcasses of animals that had been treated with the drug, then dying of kidney failure. Numbers had dropped over 97%.

2006

Diclofenac is outlawed in India for veterinary use, with a safe substitute found instead. This was followed by bans in Nepal, Pakistan and most recently in Bangladesh and Iran. Diclofenac remains legal when formulated for humans.

2015

The Indian government also bans the use of larger veterinary-sized vials of human diclofenac. The ban was heralded by SAVE – the Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction consortium – and vulture conservationists as a crucially-important step to further reduce diclofenac use in cattle.

2016

Two Indian pharmaceutical companies, Laborate Pharmaceuticals of Haryana and Alpa Laboratories of Madhya Pradesh, bring their case to Madras High Court. They seek to overturn the restriction of injectable diclofenac vial sizes to less than 3ml (single-dose), although there is no human need for larger vials. The case prompted the High Court to appoint a panel of experts to re-examine the evidence.

October 2017

After a two-year court battle, Madras High Court upholds the ban, in a victory for conservation campaigners.

Dr Vibha Prakash, Deputy Director of the Bombay Natural History Society, said: “We presented evidence of how diclofenac is clearly still being used illegally by some irresponsible veterinary practitioners. Upholding this ban is an important way to make this illegal use less easy, and so help to protect the last few remaining vultures”.

Vulture effect of diclofenac

The future

This victory was made possible with the help of generous supporters like you. Thank you. But there is still much more to be done to protect Asian vultures.

These wonderful birds are an essential part of the South Asian ecosystem. They are vital in ridding the countryside of carcasses that can harbour disease. Without them, the whole South Asian countryside and environment is changing and diminishing. But with your help, there’s still time to bring them back from the brink of extinction.

Can you go a bit further for nature and help us to achieve even more? 

Slender-billed vulture being released, pinjore breeding centre, haryana

Can you go further for nature?

There's still time to bring this bird back from the brink.

With your help we can change the fate of the asian vulture forever.