[permaculture] Vulture dieoff in India
keithdj at mindspring.com
Tue Feb 10 23:57:07 EST 2004
Now, how do we get meat from India to the vultures in the White House (I
don't mean to insult vultures, for whom I have deep respect).
KATHMANDU, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Conservationists urged South Asian
governments on Thursday to ban the use of a common painkiller for the
treatment of farm animals, saying it threatens the survival of vultures
in the region. A study by the Peregrine Fund, based in the United
States, found vultures that ate the carcasses of animals treated with
the drug were dying. The painkiller is also used in humans.
"The most effective step to save vultures is to ban the veterinary use
of diclofenac," Richard Watson, programme director of the Peregrine
Fund, told reporters at the start of a two-day meeting on vultures.
"Awareness campaigns must be launched to encourage people to stop using
diclofenac for animals," he said. Populations of the Oriental
white-backed vulture, the long-billed vulture and the slender-billed
vulture have fallen drastically during the decade that the drug has been
used to treat animals in India, Pakistan and Nepal, researchers say.
Experts say the three species of vultures found in the region are
critically endangered in South Asia, with India losing about 95 percent
of its vulture population and Pakistan 92 percent.
Vultures that feed on the carcasses of livestock given diclofenac build
up levels of the drug high enough to trigger kidney failure, Watson said
in findings reported in the British science journal Nature. The dramatic
drop in population has created enormous problems for the ecosystem
because vultures play a key role in keeping cities clean, by eating
animal carcasses. It has also created a crisis for India's tiny Parsi
community, which leaves its dead in stone towers to be eaten by vultures
because its religion forbids burial and cremation.
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