Anyone who is familiar with the arguments used in the promotion of homeopathy will have heard on the assertion that homeopathy cannot be merely placebo, because it works in the treatment of animals, who “are not susceptible to the placebo effect”. This is, of course, entirely untrue: the placebo effect is on the pets’ owners, who are convinced the treatment is working and look for anything that could be taken as sign of recovery. It is also possible the pet recovered due to parallel conventional treatment, or the body’s own healing ability.
In actuality, homeopathy is just as ineffective in treating animals as it is in treating humans, which makes it particularly troubling that there are hundreds of vets willing to give homeopathic remedies to pets and farm animals. We have heard from vets who have had to euthanize animals who had been given homeopathy by a homeopathic vet in lieu of real treatment, and a recent tragic report in the Daily Mail told the story of a dog whose broken back was ineffectually treated with homeopathy.
Animals, unfortunately, are not able to choose whether to receive real treatment or ‘alternative’ treatment, and they are not able to speak out against the use of ineffectual treatments – but you can. One vet has set up a petition calling upon the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to ban the prescription of homeopathic medicines by registered vets.
If you agree that pets should not be subjected to pseudoscientific treatments when they are ill, you can join 1600 others and sign the petition now. If you’re a pet owner, we’d also like you to write to your vet using the template letter below as a guide, to ask them to add their name to the petition. So far, over 700 vets have signed on – will your vet join them?
Dear <your vet>
Having brought my pet <name/type of pet> to you several times, I would like to raise an issue that I feel particularly strongly about. I am aware that there are a small (but significant) number of registered vets using homeopathic remedies to ‘treat’ animals. Given that homeopathic remedies have been shown to be ineffective, and are in fact nothing but inert sugar pills with no active ingredient, I feel very strongly that sick animals should not be given homeopathic remedies which could not possibly treat them.
There is a petition calling for the RCVS to ban the prescription of homeopathic remedies in the treatment of animals. To date it has been signed by over 1600 people, more than 700 of whom are fellow veterinary professionals.
I would like to invite you sign the petition, and to encourage a better standard of evidence in veterinary medicine.