Restrictive veterinary legislation hinders the creation of “vulture restaurants” in Bulgaria

6 May 2017

The restrictive veterinary legislation in Bulgaria and the proximity of our country to Turkey, where contagious diseases come from, hinders the implementation of European regulations related to the feeding of vultures and the creation of vulture restaurants aimed at satisfying the food requirements of vultures.

In Greece and Bulgaria recent regulation has not even been transposed, which represents a significant bottleneck in terms of sustainable future for the scavenging birds. In Bulgaria, in particular, the existing legislation governing the disposal of animal by-products is extremely restrictive because, as an external border of the European Union, the country plays an important role in stopping the introduction of dangerous animal diseases into the community. This creates difficulties for the implementation of Regulation 142/2011 / EC, which allows the carcasses of animals and parts of them to be left freely in nature for vulture food. This are some of the conclusion that were reached at the “International Workshop on Supplementary Feeding Strategies for Vultures” that was held in Haskovo at the end of April. During the workshop were discussed in details the main issues and challenged regarding on the transposition and national regulations of the relevant EU directives.

The two-day seminar was attended by representatives of the state institutions, including Regional environmental Agency, Bulgarian Agency for Food Safety and a number of non-governmental organizations, including the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, Green Balkans, Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna,  Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation. The seminar was organized by the Vulture Conservation Foundation within the frames of project “Conservation of Black and Griffon Vultures in the Rhodope Mountains”.

The legalization of these sites and the implementation of European regulations, however, also requires legislative changes. For this purpose, during the workshop in Haskovo, the specific gaps and weaknesses in the existing legislation were analyzed and concrete steps were taken to address the problem. The experts will develop proposals for the necessary legislative changes, which will create clear rules and guidelines for the creation of “Vulture restaurants”.

Avian scavengers are part of the detrital food web of ecosystems and they provide the important ecological service of recycling carrion biomass to prevent the accumulation of dead biomass, thereby contributing to waste removal, disease regulation, and nutrient cycling.

Earlier this week the anti-poison dog unit took part in seminar on poison prevention.
Earlier this week the anti-poison dog unit took part in seminar on poison prevention.

Worldwide, supplementary feeding  is a key  conservation activity in strategies to protect endangered bird populations. Nutrition sites and Vultures Restaurants (In Western Europe, these are specially designated places where life-vultures-colophonists dispose of dead animals from their own farms) play an irreplaceable role because they provide safe food for vultures and thus reduce the risk of poisoning Of rare birds. Vultures seek their food in large areas, which poses the risk of poisoning, while providing more clean food on such sites is one of the mechanisms for the protection of vultures. Although they feed on carrion and successfully swallow dangerous bacteria, vultures are powerless against the chemicals produced, released by man in the environment, veterinary drugs, and heavy metals.

Earlier this week the LIFE Vultures anti-poison team also took part in a seminar against wildlife poisoning in Sofia. Nikolay Terziev from BSPB shared the team’s experience working with the specially trained dog Bars and other activities to end these dangerous practices.

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