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BSE law's effects on carrion-eating wildlife

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Offline lisa

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« on: July 05, 2007, 09:13 AM »
As the Spanish law introduced on the 22nd of May 2001 (the "Reglamento nº 999/2001") obliging the removal of carrion from the environment is having such a negative impact on so many different Iberian species including vultures, wolves and bears, I thought a thread here would encompass them all.

SEO/BirdLife have asked the EC for a wider modification in the law in relation to carrion-eating bird species. In particular Griffon vulture, Black vulture, Egyptian vulture, Lammergeier, Red kite and the Spanish imperial eagle.
Seo/BirdLife present their study to the EC.

They have now been joined by Fapas and a German organisation, Euronatur, who have presented their study to the European Parliament on the effects of the removal of carrion on the Cantabrian brown bear.
Fapas present their study, July the 3rd, 2007.
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Offline Dave

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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2007, 09:26 AM »
Hi Lisa
Positive news at least, but the EC tends to move slowly, let us hope they decide there is an urgency to this one.
Regards
Dave

Offline nick

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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2007, 22:03 PM »
Update on this today. It seems to have moved up a level.

Spanish government to ask EU for solutions to lack of food for carrion birds

http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2007/10/29/ciencia/1193671461.html
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2008, 08:46 AM »
Good news from Fapas today. It looks like any dead cows are going to be allowed to stay where they are, in the Picos de Europa National Park at least, but we'll find out in a month's time after a study has been done. Hopefully bodes well for the future of the Griffons and the reintroduction programme for the Lammergeier. It's a start.
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2008, 08:26 AM »
Following on from Nick's queries of figures, from Fapas;

"La encefalopatía espongiforme, la enfermedad de las vacas locas, forzó la puesta en marcha en mayo del año 2001 de una normativa de la Unión Europea que obliga a las autoridades a recoger cualquier animal que muera, tanto si lo hace en la cuadra como si es en pleno monte. Antes de la medida se retiraban unos 3.000 cadáveres y actualmente se llevan a las instalaciones de Cogersa, en Serín, 21.000 cadáveres al año."
I had to have a look to see where Serín is and it's just south and west of Gijón (just in bear territory too). So as I understand it, previous to the change in the law in 2001, this one facility for desposing of livestock remains was taking in about 3,000 bodies a year and now, is accepting about 21,000. I make that a loss of 18,000 remains that are now being removed from farms and mountains in Asturias to be taken to this installation alone  :o Is it the only one in Asturias? What are these places called? Is it an abattoir? If it was working pre-2001, it's not one of those set up as private businesses solely to make a nice profit deal with the disposal of dead livestock that may be BSE-infected. These vultures are hungry.
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2008, 08:21 AM »
Confirmation of the relaxation of the BSE laws, in the Picos at least. from Iberianature blog;

Livestock farmers in the Picos de Europa National Park are soon to be given the option of leaving dead ruminants as carrion instead of the, until now, obligatory and costly removal of cow, sheep and goat corpses due to the EU's BSE laws. This is excellent news for carrion-feeding birds such as the area's Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) as well as for the future reintroduction programme for the Lammergeier (Gypatus barbatus), due to start now in 2009. It should also positively affect other occasional carrion-eating species such as Cantabrian brown bear (Ursus arctos) and Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus).

(I made that last one up  >:D)
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Offline nick

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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2008, 13:11 PM »
Great news!
Nick
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Offline Dave

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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2008, 13:43 PM »
Hi Lisa and All
Great news indeed and a real change to see the EU seeing sense and reversing an ill though out law
Regards
Dave

Offline lisa

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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2008, 08:13 AM »
Although a few feeding stations/muladares have been reopened, it is not enough. Salvemos a los buitres have started an online petition to support the studies done and campaign for the Spanish Environment Ministry to reopen more. The Spanish countryside has historically been pickled with these areas where farmers could leave their livestock carcasses.
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Offline nick

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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2009, 13:04 PM »
Article on this in the Guardian

Vultures should be allowed to return as 'nature's waste managers' in Spain

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/30/vultures-spain

Quote
Europe's carrion-guzzling vultures should be allowed to return to their old jobs as nature's waste managers, according to scientists who say the birds are suffering as they increasingly depend on being fed by people.

Stringent regulations brought in because of mad cow disease in 2002 meant the carcasses of dead cows, as well as sheep, goats and other livestock, could not be left in the open. Carrion was crucial part of the vultures' diet, but the birds now do much of their feeding at managed carrion centres set up by authorities.

The change means a gradual, decades-old revival of vulture populations around Europe is grinding to a halt. Vultures fed by humans find it harder to reproduce and farmers complain some have taken to attacking live animals.

"The effects of this policy include a halt in population growth, a decrease in breeding success, and an apparent increase in mortality of young age classes," a group of Spanish researchers said in a letter to Science magazine.

Population growth has flattened out over the past decade after two decades in which vultures, which had been systematically poisoned by farmers, had flourished. The number of griffin vultures in Spain, for example, increased from 3,500 pairs to 18,000 between 1979 and 1999.

Last year 20,000 pairs were counted but there is evidence that populations have begun to decline rapidly. One observatory near Segovia, central Spain, reported a 40% drop over five years. Another observatory in La Rioja, northern Spain, reported an 80% drop, and says local vultures have stopped reproducing completely.

Spain, which is home to 90% of Europe's griffin, cinereous and bearded vultures, has asked the European Union to relax the ban on leaving dead livestock where they fall. "For centuries there was no problem in leaving carcasses out," said Juan Antonio Gil, of Spain's Bearded Vulture Foundation. "The vultures cleaned them up."

"Now carcasses have to be collected and disposed of centrally, with all that means in terms of costs and the energy used," he said. Rather than spend money on tractors, trucks and diesel fuel, he said, the task could be done for free by vultures.

"The most efficient and ecologically friendly way to dispose of carcasses it to let the vultures do the job," he said.
Nick
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