Context: Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) has demanded a ban on using aceclofenac in cattle after a new study showed that the drug metabolises into diclofenac in water buffaloes — as it does in cows.
NSAIDS as a major threat to vultures in India:
- The rampant use of the three non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) threatens to undo the Centre’s two decades of work to arrest the dwindling vulture population in the wild.
- The three drugs—aceclofenac, ketoprofen and nimesulide—were introduced as alternatives to diclofenac, that India banned in 2006 for animal use because it caused widespread vulture deaths.
- The country’s vulture population crashed from over 40,000 in 2003 to 18,645 in 2015, as per the last vulture census conducted by intergovernmental body Bird Life International.
- India’s vulture conservation action plan for 2020-25 recommends a ban on the veterinary use of the three drugs.
- India is also a signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species’ Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures, which recognises NSAIDS as a major threat to vultures in India.
- The vulture action plan recommends meloxicam over diclofenac. Tolfenamic acid is the other safe option.
- It is used for the relief of pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
- IVRI and its collaborators conducted the study and found that aceclofenac was rapidly converted to diclofenac while injecting the same water buffaloes.
- Such metabolisms pose a threat to vulture populations in the country.
- Anti-inflammatory drug was banned for veterinary use by the Government of India in 2006.
- It was found to be the main cause of a dramatic decline (99 per cent) of the vulture population across Asia.
- The drug caused accidental poisoning in raptors after they fed on carcasses of cattle injected with it.
- Aceclofenac in water buffaloes poses the same threat to vultures as it is a pro-drug of diclofenac.
- Vulture Action Plan 2020-2025 also mentions the drug as toxic, asking the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) to ban its veterinary use — along with other drugs like nimesulide and ketoprofen.
MUST READ: Vulture Conservation in India
Previous Year Question
Q.1) “Triclosan” considered harmful when exposed to high levels for a long time, is most likely present in which of the following? (2021)
- Food preservatives
- Fruit ripening substances
- reused plastic containers