Vulture protection: Cabinet clears proposal to ban Ketoprofen

The Cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to stop the production of ‘Ketoprofen’ drug in an effort to save the critically-endangered vultures.

The approval came from the weekly cabinet meeting held at the Secretariat. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting, joining it virtually from Ganobhaban.

“Some 50,000 vultures had been there in Bangladesh during the 1970s, but its population has alarmingly declined. Now there are only 260 vultures in the country, according to the count of the Environment Ministry,” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam while briefing reporters after the meeting.

The Environment Ministry placed the proposal saying that if the Ketoprofen supply cannot be stopped, the vulture population will vanish from Bangladesh, he said.

In the proposal, they suggested ‘Meloxicam’ as an alternative to ‘Ketoprofen’ drug sine meloxicam is available in the market and its side-effect is very light, Anwarul added.

Nature conservationists have long been demanding that the vulture-toxic drug, ‘Ketoprofen’, should be banned for saving the country’s vulture population from extinction.

Bangladesh earlier banned ‘Diclofenac’, the most harmful drug for the vulture population.

Vultures play a critical role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem by controlling the spread of diseases to human.

Unfortunately, over 99.9 percent of the vultures of South Asia have disappeared over the past couple of decades.

The threats the vultures of Bangladesh face are numerous, but the primary threat was the veterinary painkilling drugs, which have been the sole reason for the unprecedented vulture tragedy of South Asia.