Health: Ban homeopathy treatments for animals
An online petition calls for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to band vets from offering homeopathic remedies.
More than 2,500 vets, veterinary nurses, scientists and animal lovers have petitioned for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to blacklist homeopathy treatments on unethical and potentially deadly grounds.
According to Dr Danny Chambers, the veterinarian who started the petition on Change.org, the alternative medicine is very popular for people who favor natural therapies, which is practiced by around 50 vets in the UK.
Although this might seem like a small number, in reality they have “friends in extremely high places” he explains.
One of these supporters is Prince Charles, who claims he exclusively uses homeopathic remedies when treating his cows and sheep.
"We think vets these days should be offering 21st Century medicine," Dr Chambers, specialized in equine medicine, told BBC News.
"It's been shown that homeopathy doesn't work, so it probably shouldn't be offered any more even if it is offered with good intentions." he adds.
In his letter to the veterinary regulator, he states:
“The health of animals is totally in the hands of those charged with their care. It is unethical to inflict ineffective alternatives on creatures that have no choice in the matter. It is unfair to misuse an owner's often limited financial resources on a 'treatment' that does nothing but offer false hope.”
Michael Marshall, project director of the Good Thinking Society, a charity which fights pseudoscience, said:
“While it's undoubtedly the case that vets who use homeopathic treatments do so with the best of intentions, that unfortunately doesn't change the fact that these treatments are at best a waste of time and money, and at worst they represent a genuine threat to the wellbeing of the animal.”
The RCVS, which regulates the veterinary profession, recommends "a cautious approach to homeopathy for animals" and describes it as something to be given alongside conventional treatments. A ban is however still unlikely.