Who: Tamil Nadu Government
What: Banned drug Ketoprofen
When: Second week of October 2015
Why: To save vultures
Tamil Nadu in the second week of October 2015 banned the use of Ketoprofen, a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which is used extensively for veterinary purposes. The step has been taken to save critically endangered vultures in the state.
As per the announcement of the state’s Directorate of Animal Husbandry, the use of drug will be discontinued in Erode, Coimbatore and the Nilgiris, where the vulture population is in danger.
The Tamil Nadu Government had included Ketoprofen based on an effort to identify an alternative to the banned drug Diclofenac.
Adverse effects of Ketoprofen on vultures
• Meat from animals that had been treated with ketoprofen could be lethal for the birds.
• Doses administered to cattle in India are sufficient to kill the birds.
• As per a study published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, the drug causes the birds to suffer acute kidney failure within days of exposure.
The vulture crisis in India
• Vihbu Prakash of the Bombay Natural History Society first noted a decrease in the number of vultures in the skies over India in the 1990s.
• Dr. Lindsay Oaks and his team in 2003 found out that diclofenac is the root cause for the decrease in the number of vultures.
• Diclofenac was taken off the market in India on 11 March 2006.