Panic as 10,000 hungry vultures go searching for fresh meat
(The Times, 6 August 2007)
Vultures’ revenge? Vultures in Europeare said to be attacking live beings for the first time
(Daily Mail, 7 August 2007)
How EU turned vultures in birds of prey
(The Daily Telegraph, 16 June 2008)
Following the BSE crisis, new EU rules were agreed on the disposal of animal by-products to prevent future feed-borne disasters and to ensure a high level of animal and public health throughout Europe.
The law came into force on 1 May 2003 and introduced an obligation to collect and dispose of all fallen animal cadavers.
It was acknowledged that the change in the legislation would reduce the available food supply for many endangered necrophagous birds, such as vultures.
However, following rigorous safety evaluations, scientists concluded that the risk of these birds transmitting BSE is negligible. And so in April 2003, the Commission agreed to allow certain risk material (dead ruminants) to be used to feed necrophagous birds, as long as the necessary safety precautions are taken.
The derogation mainly affected France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, home to the European population of bearded vultures.
In summer 2007, concerns were raised by the Spanish authorities that the special feeding rules for vultures and eagles were impractical and caused problems for the preservation of the protected species concerned.
The Commission has indicated its readiness to consider the practicality of the current rules, in close cooperation with the member state authorities as well as stakeholders, such as bird protection organisations, and to consider any appropriate modifications necessary.
So far no authorities have taken up this offer.