18 July 2016 at 16:20
Cedric can’t explain how he is feeling. Nor can he say whether his new arthritis treatment is working. In fact, Cedric can’t talk at all. That’s because he is a horse.
If this horse could talk, he might be able to save everyone a lot of trouble.
Five-year-old Cedric is on the frontline of a row over the role and suitability of the homeopathic treatment of animals. The latest salvo in the war of words was fired by an Edinburgh-based locum vet, Danny Chambers, who this month submitted a petition to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the regulatory body for vets, urging it to “blacklist” the homeopathic treatment of animals, labelling the practice ineffective, misleading and dangerous.
“I’ve been writing letters about this to the Veterinary Times for the last three years,” says Chambers, whose petition attracted more than 2,500 signatures, including more than 1,000 vets. “Homeopathy is one of those alternative medicines that has a legitimacy. Most people don’t understand what it is, but it’s not seen like crystal healing or other alternative therapies. If you went to the doctors with diabetes and they sent you to a crystal healer, they would be doing you a disservice. I’m not anti-homeopathy but it has been disproven. Conventional medicine can’t fix everything, but it’s not fair to give people hope for something that doesn’t work and charge them for it.”
Around 50 of the 22,000 vets in the UK who are licensed by the RCVS practise homeopathy. Based on the principle that “like cures like”, homeopathy claims to treat ill health by administering diluted forms of plants and minerals. In May, Prince Charles told a conference that he treated animals on his organic farm with homeopathy as well as conventional medicine. “We have been successfully using homeopathic – yes, homeopathic – treatments for my cattle and sheep as part of a programme to reduce the use of antibiotics,” he said.
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