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June 2014


European vultures under threat.

How does one write critically about the EU without being branded a rabid Eurosceptic? Yes, I am a sceptic but, I hope, not yet rabid.

The very highly paid staff of the European Commission churn out directive after directive to justify their positions but, so often, fail to do this in a “joined-up” manner.

Some years ago, one section banned farmers from leaving carcases where they fell on pain of some terrible penalty and, not long after, Griffon Vultures were seen in the Netherlands searching for food. After some discussion between departments common sense prevailed and the vultures could, once again, thrive and clear away the dead livestock.

Now we have another example of not looking at the “big picture” – who has not been alarmed  by the catastrophic decline of vultures in India and Pakistan? It did not take long for the cause to be identified without any doubt at all – it was use of diclofenac on the cattle of the region. India, to its credit, banned the use of the drug as soon as the facts were known and, soon after, another drug was found which offered the same benefits for farm animals but which poses no threat to vultures and eagles.

In March it was announced that the old drug, diclofenac, has been authorised for veterinary use in Europe and is in production with the potential to ravage this region’s scavenging raptors.

I have just one question for the bureaucrats of Brussels – why did you not ban the veterinary use of this drug years ago?

More can be seen on the Birdlife website at:


  • Europe’s vultures under threat
  • LIPU Strategy 2015 – 20
  • Protection of Bonelli’s Eagles
  • Carloforte Oasis, Sardinia

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