Regardless of whether or not you believe that the water wizards who tout homeopathy are right or not, at the end of the day it is your choice to buy the sugar pills and pots of water. But what about the pets and animals in the care of those who hold these beliefs? More than 1,000 vets in the UK have now signed an open letter asking the regulator for veterinary practice in the country to ban the use of homeopathy on animals.
The letter has been submitted as a petition to the Royal College of Veterinary Science, and makes the case to end pseudo treatments for sick animals in place of medication, and that the prescription of such treatments can lead to unnecessary suffering and even death in animals who have gone too long without the adequate care they need. And we’re not talking about taking a sugar pill to cure a headache or something as harmless here; the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons claims that homeopathy can be used to cure dogs of cancer, while others advocate using it as a means to prevent antibiotic resistance in livestock.
The letter argues that there is no evidence that the practice works on anything other than by the placebo effect, and that even though vets practicing homeopathy may well be entirely sincere in their belief, they are clearly unable to assess the medical evidence for themselves that homeopathy doesn’t work in any other form. There is some evidence that animals do experience the placebo effect, but that doesn’t stop the use of homeopathy to treat illnesses only curable by medicine as being cruel.
The vet who originally penned the letter argues that while the idea of ending support of homeopathy for use in humans by the National Health Service is finally gaining traction, and the British government is considering blacklisting the practice altogether, within the veterinary world it is still incredibly common. He writes: “The biggest danger of homeopathy is not that the remedies are ineffective, but that some homeopaths are of the opinion that their therapies can substitute for genuine medical treatment. This is at best misleading, and at worst may lead to unnecessary suffering and death.”
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have responded to the petition by saying that as the demand for homeopathy is already there, and is showing little signs of going away, that it is better for clients to seek medical advice from registered veterinarians who also administer homeopathy, and who could then make a better decision on the health of the animal in question, rather than going to a homeopathic practitioner with no formal veterinary training. They added: “Furthermore, homeopathy is currently accepted by society and recognized by UK medicines legislation, and does not, in itself, cause harm to animals.”