For over a decade it has been known that some drugs are toxic to vultures and that they are exposed to these drugs by consuming contaminated carcasses. Yet no safety-testing measures are mandated for such drugs before they can be approved, nor is there a clear legislative mechanism to ban drugs that are found to be toxic. This is true for South Asian nations as well as the European Union (EU). The biggest concern is that nowhere in the world are pharmaceutical drugs tested for safety also in the wildlife that will be exposed to them. This is true of drugs intended for both human and animal use.
In 2006 Prof Vinny Naidoo – now Deputy Dean: Research and Postgraduate Studies in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria (UP) – and his team, started research on protecting vultures from the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac in cattle, which was responsible for high mortality rates in vulture populations.
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Short news snippets with colour photos about what's happening at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria.