Homeopathy declared unfit for animals.Why is more common senese being applied to veterinary medicine than our own?

Homeopathy has been declared unfit for animals in the UK by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) because it cannot be classed as a medicine, or hence prescribed by vets, because of a complete lack of scientifically supported efficacy. It's quite funny actually, since one of the main arguments used by homeopaths is that the placebo effect doesn't occur in animals (a debatable point). Yet it can still be prescribed to human patients despite this well known lack of evidence.

Other remedies under the VMD's axe are:

  • Animal food supplements – known as neutraceuticals, which claim to treat diseases or bring extra health benefits such as improved mental ability in pet animals.
  • Herbal liquids, powders and pellets – sold as herbal wormers – claiming to irritate and repel parasitic worms from the guts of horses, livestock, and pets.

It's basically all the new age quack for animals.

The VMD Director of Operations, John FitzGerald, said:
“Some of these products are claiming to be effective and safe when no scientific evidence has been presented to us to show they are.
“Animal owners have a right to know if a product does what it claims. The products claim to treat diseases which can cause serious welfare problems and in some circumstances kill animals if not properly treated. So in some cases owners are giving remedies to their pets which don’t treat the problem.”
But the same thing applies to people. Homeopathic remedies are taken by many people when travelling to areas of the world where diseases like malaria and polio are rife. Some even give these homeopathic preventatives to their children instead of treating them with the effective medication they need. Why do they do this? There could be many reasons:
  • Not well informed
  • Vulnerable to exploitation
  • Scientifically illiterate
  • Sucked in by phrases like 'vital force', 'resonant frequencies' and 'energy flow', thinking they actually mean something.
  • Like 'natural' remedies - desite the fact they contain barely any of the active ingredient.
Why isn't anything done about this? It's all in the name of 'patient choice', at least that's been the  pathetic excuse given by the present Coalition Government and the Labour one before it. However, this idea of patient choice is not apparent on  issues like obesity,  and some drugs are made illegal for reasons that seem to contradict scientif..., whilst others like alcohol and tobacco are legalised because of 'consumer choice' despite scientific evidence which suggests that they are far more harmful (to the individual and society) than some illegal drugs. Don't they also fit under patient or consumer choice?


Some people use homeopathy as a last resort when all other forms of medicine have failed. This is understandable, but it is no reason to throw funding at this form of late-18th Century German fruitloopery.

Homeopathy requires that the remedy is a heavily diluted solution, because the less of the initial substance you take, the more powerful it becomes. By that logic, the best way to use homeopathy is not to use it at all.

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It would be amusing, if it weren't so sad, that we modern day Americans look back on the late 19th centruy as a period of "snake oil" and crackpot medical devices and nostrums, when TODAY is the golden age for that nonsense.  Go into any drug store and you'll find the shelves crowded with pills and potions that DON'T WORK!  By some authoritative estimates, no more than 20% show any efficacy whatsoever.  I maintain that this percentage is optimistic. 

At least the people of the 1800's had an excuse: they had little actual medical and scientific knowledge available to them to make wise decisions about their health.  TODAY, we have no such excuse.  Millions upon millions of Americans eschew proven medical therapies and cures in favor of utterly preposterous  quackery, the worst of which is homeopathy.

So why is this situation allowed to persist?  Largely because, in 1994, the Republican Congress passed a law that effectively strips nearly all power from the Federal Drug Administration to regulate "supplements."  That was because Orrin Hatch was the Senator from Idaho, where most dietary supplements are manufactured.  

Check the ads on TV.  Most of the fine print includes the disclaimer that this product has not been evaluated by any agency, such as the FDA for safety and effectiveness.  All the FDA can do is issue warnings.  But the manufacturers of this snake oil create 100 new ones for every one that gets vetted by the agency.  I could market mud as a "mineral supplement" that "supports the immune system," and there's no law to stop me.  For the FDA to stop me, they must spend 5 years proving that mud is not a good thing to ingest for good health. In the interim,  I become a multi-millionaire, like the duplicitous school teacher who convinced millions of Americans that she went into her kitchen one day and stirred up a batch of something she called "Airborne."  She advertised it, especially on talk radio, as the cure for the common cold.  Funny, I haven't seen any sign of colds disappearing from the landscape over the two decades people have been ignorantly spraying it into their noses.

It is amusing. Every person has the option of choosing their own healthcare. It is up to the individual to understand the basic theory behind a treatment and not blindly accept information from authority. We science minded people decided homeopathy is worthless and choose to avoid it while sharing information with our fellows. Those others that decide it is for them are free to do so.


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