Homeopathic vets march over ‘attack on freedom’

  • Supporters of homeopathy are planning to march through London over a dispute with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

    The row concerns the RCVS’ recent position statement on complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), which was issued in November (news, 16 November 2017).

    Vets, supporters, animal owners and their pets are planning to meet at the Houses of Parliament on 15 January and march to the RCVS headquarters in Horseferry Road to deliver a petition against the position statement.

    The statement reads that it expects treatments offered by vets to be “underpinned by a recognised evidence base or sound scientific principles”.

    “Veterinary surgeons should not make unproven claims about any treatments, including prophylactic treatments,” it adds.

    “Homeopathy exists without a recognised body of evidence for its use. Furthermore, it is not based on sound scientific principles.

    “In order to protect animal welfare, we regard such treatments as being complementary rather than alternative to treatments for which there is a recognised evidence base or which are based in sound scientific principles.”

    The British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS) is demanding the RCVS retracts this statement, and says it is a “de facto ban”.

    “This is an attack on freedom of choice for clients and on the clinical freedom of vets,” said BAHVS president Chris Day, a holistic veterinarian with more than 40 years’ experience.

    “It has been imposed without consultation with clients or any of the vets who use these treatments.

    “We are deeply disappointed that the RCVS would seek to undermine its own members whose independence and livelihoods are at stake.”


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    A statement from the BAHVS adds there is evidence for homeopathy, which has been published in peer-reviewed journals.

    “BAHVS members are fully qualified veterinary surgeons who have then carried out further training in homeopathy,” adds the statement.

    “Many conventional vets also offer CAM treatments to clients.

    “However homeopathic vets are particularly targeted by this move.”

    The topic has prompted strong reactions on both sides. A petition started in May 2016 calling for a ban on veterinary surgeons from prescribing homeopathy as a treatment for animals received more than 3,300 signatures.

    The petition which will be delivered to the RCVS calls for the college to reverse its position statement and has 13,000 signatures.

    The BAHVS represents the 100 UK vets who practice homeopathic-based treatments.

    The RCVS’ full position statement and frequently asked questions can be found here: www.rcvs.org.uk/news-and-views/news/college-publishes-complementary-medicines-statement/

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