Homeopathy can kill pets and should be banned
Vets are calling for a ban on homeopathy for pets claiming animals cannot benefit from the placebo effect because they are unaware they are being treated.
Danny Chambers, who teaches at the University of Edinburgh, said that homeopathy has no basis in science and prevents the use of orthodox remedies, which can lead to unnecessary suffering and even death.
More than 1,000 vets have now signed a petition, started by Mr Chambers, which calls on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to prohibit homeopathic treatments.
“The danger is not only due to the remedies being ineffective, but the belief held by some homeopaths that such therapies can be a substitute for orthodox treatment."Danny Chambers
Writing in New Scientist, he said: “Amazingly it is still offered and promoted by a small number of vets in the UK. This is plain weird when you think about it.
“Animals do not experience a placebo effect because they are unaware they are being treated.
“Vets who practice homeopathy should not be permitted to use their professional standing to promote its validity.
“They should not be allowed to charge a fee for something that has been proven to be ineffective. This line must be drawn. After all, no one would argue that vets should be permitted to offer crystal healing or psychic healing.
“Let’s stop vets from prescribing homeopathic treatments, sending a clear message that these are not endorsed by 21st century medicine.”
Homeopathy relies on the memory of water
Supporters of homeopathy believe it can treat everything from depression to hay fever, the theory being that substances that produce the symptoms of an ailment can cure it once they have been watered down many times to reduce their strength.
Advocates of the practice claim the water retains a “memory” of the original substance. The Prince of Wales recently announced that he uses homeopathy on his cattle.
In 2010, the Science and Technology Committee agreed there was no evidence the drugs were any more effective than a placebo. The Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies has also said that homeopathy is ‘rubbish.’
Most NHS trusts no longer fund homeopathic treatments, which do not include complimentary therapies such as acupuncture.
But there are at least 46 practices across Britain which still offer treatment.
The Prince of Wales told a conference recently that he uses homeopathic remedies on his cows
Mr Chambers added: “The danger is not only due to the remedies being ineffective, but the belief held by some homeopaths that such therapies can be a substitute for orthodox treatment. This is at best misleading, and at worst may lead to unnecessary suffering or death.
“Substituting effective and appropriate treatment with homeopathy for serious diseases – such as hyperthyroidism in a cat – could result in a personal tragedy for the owner of a much loved pet.
“Allowing a small minority of vets to continue prescribing homeopathic remedies adds legitimacy to a pseudoscience that may lead to belief that it is a genuinely effective medicine.”
However a spokesman for the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons said that people who opposed homeopathy had an ‘axe to grind.’
“The Royal Society of Veterinary Surgeons has made it clear that homeopathic treatment is an acceptable type of therapy when practiced by trained vets.
“You only have to look on our website and you will see examples of where dogs have been cured of cancer through homeopathy.
“By and large, people who oppose it just have an axe to grind.”