Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre
Holistic Vet - Homeopathic Vet - Acupuncture Vet - Herbal Vet - Natural Vet
Prejudice (& Hostility)
(compounded by fraud and deception)
"Good science comes first from observation" - Chris Day June 2006
See also: Chris Day's Blog: http://chris-day.live-blog.net
See also: Evidence-Based Medicine
See also: Hacking Attack - July 2009 (Info)
See also: Case Histories
See also: BMA ARM Conference Brighton 2010
*There are some enlightening links at the bottom of the page, which explain the deception and fraud that sadly seem to be rife in the modern drug industry.
"What we donít talk to, we donít understand. What we donít understand, we fear. What we fear, we destroy." (Aboriginal proverb)
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." (Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 -1860)
The practice of natural medicine, particularly homeopathy, is not a lucrative exercise. Manufacturing of the medicines is not highly profitable. There is also a great deal of hard work involved in specialised learning and the time-intensive nature of proper practice. For these reasons, there is poor availability of veterinary natural medicine but those who have taken it up enjoy the rewards, in job satisfaction (Why use Homeopathy?).
There is no doubt that taking up natural medicine massively reduces practice profitability, compared with conventional practice. The differential may change, if the monopoly of supply of conventional prescription medicines is removed from veterinary practices. This would remove lucrative profit margins and force them to charge more realistic professional fees for their work, rather than relying on sales.
Whether economics play a part, whether it is the classic primitive behaviour pattern, in which a community harries those who do not conform precisely, whether it is insecurity when faced with the unfathomable vastness of the boundless vistas presented by holistic medicine or whether it is simply fear of the unknown and personal insecurity therefrom, there is a significant amount of prejudice and hostility against natural medicine and particularly against homeopathic vets within the veterinary profession and its hierarchy. In recent years, this has been actively fuelled by a vociferous minority, who wish to see homeopathy banned. There are even tales of prejudice against homeopathy and other natural medicines within the RSPCA Inspectorate and hierarchy. There was a clear-cut case in which the Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth strongly advised a client not to consult the AVMC, despite a chronic and distressing condition having shown no signs of improvement whatever on conventional treatment (happily, the 'owner' took no notice of this nonsense and the donkey is now fine - case report). There is no moral or ethical place for such an attitude, when animal welfare should be the objective. There is so much to do for animals and their welfare that it beats me how or why these people have the time and energy for such negative activity. (For our part at the AVMC, we choose to get on with the important business of helping animals, rather than wasting time on fruitless arguments with those who will not give up their time to observe.)
(The AVMC is conducting objective analysis of clinical outcomes from cases seen. These results are being updated on an ongoing basis. To view them, click here.)
It is a matter of record that the AVMC has frequently offered free help to the relevant authorities, in cases of widespread animal suffering or disease (notable examples have been such recent epizootics as: Foot & Mouth Disease in 2001, Avian Influenza in 2006, Seal 'phocine distemper' PDV outbreak in 2002, Koala Chlamydia - ongoing, White-nose Syndrome in Bats). Sadly, in each case except the latter, these offers have either been ignored or refused. This would appear to be a result of institutional prejudice against homeopathy, often despite the abject failure of conventional methods. The seal disaster killed 17,000 animals in 1988 and 18,000 animals in 2002, yet no help was accepted. Survival of the Koala Bear is threatened by venereal spread of Chlamydia. Similar offers of help have been made for Squirrel Pox in Scotland and Cumbria, Bluetongue in Southern and Eastern England and Avian Influenza in the swans at Abbotsbury, in Dorset, in the West Country. Natural medicine may have a lot to offer, when conventional medicine is at a loss. However, to date, it has not been given a chance to prove its worth, despite the failure of the drug approach in such situations.
"Nature loves variety - Society hates it" (so said Professor Milton Diamond). Those who would knock homeopathy bleat on about science. I say: if science knows all the answers, who needs scientists? They can surely go home, as there would be nothing left to discover! The nature of homeopathy can be an obstacle to belief, in that the medicines used are often diluted 'beyond the molecule'. This is a cause of incredulity, in many but why not suspend disbelief, while examining the results? In fact, I have lectured to and enjoyed dialogue with a group of atomic scientists, who had no problem getting their minds around the sub-molecular issues. If that community was not worried, with their intimate and awe-inspiring knowledge and understanding of molecular and atomic physics, why should I be? The first rule of good science is observation and the results have to be observed, however inexplicable they may at first seem. I have frequently invited veterinary surgeons, including officers of the RCVS, to attend our clinic and observe. Why has this never happened? Let's suspend disbelief, objectively examine the outcome of homeopathic intervention and worry about possible so-called 'scientific' explanations later. It is frankly unscientific to do otherwise.
Just because it took place in a laboratory does not make it science. - Chris Day
Forget the laboratory. Forget ingrained theory and beliefs. Forget entrenched loyalties. Get out in the field, roll up your sleeves and observe the results in practice. That is the start of real science. That is the only way to counter the entrenched belief system that prevents acceptance of homeopathy. 'It doesn't work because it can't work' is a fair summary of many of the arguments ranged against homeopathy and is symptomatic of belief not science.
Beware 'The King's New Clothes'.
The words 'science' and 'scientific' are used in such a way as to prevent the listener or reader questioning the material. Do you remember the boy who hadn't been told about the King's New Clothes? Whenever the words are used to support an assertion or a commercial interest, take a really objective look and you might see the real 'King' behind the illusion.
It is often said that if you tell a lie often enough it becomes the truth. ["A lie told often enough becomes truth" Vladimir Lenin. - William James (1842-1910) the father of modern Psychology "There's nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it."]. However, call a thing red that is in fact blue will not make it red. No amount of ranting and clamouring will make it so.
There is a clamour for only 'evidence-based medicine' to be acceptable. This same voice calls for homeopathy to be banned for lack of evidence. Sometimes this goes beyond the polemic into rabid rant. This seems very strange in the light of a recent BMJ report on evidence-based medicine (EBM), which states that, of 2,404 human treatments so far reviewed, only 15% were shown to be to be effective. 47% were of unknown effect. This report did not address harmful side-effects, nor did it draw attention to the fact that, in most cases, the evidence is only that a drug can suppress a symptom of the disease, rather than aid the patient to overcome a disease. One cannot expect modern conventional veterinary medicine to fare much better. If calls to ban medicine that is not evidence-based were to prevail, what would happen to 85% of conventional medicine? (See also Chris Day's Blog)
The first step in good science is observation.
Experience (one of the best forms of evidence) shows that homeopathy is able to bring about a positive result in the large majority of cases seen, even after conventional methods have failed. In addition, a recent veterinary pilot clinical outcome survey, conducted by the British Homeopathic Association, yet to be published, showed very positive results. Published papers exist, to show that homeopathy is not without effect. These are conveniently ignored by the anti-homeopathy lobby.
Those who would 'rubbish' homeopathy will often claim that its so-called successes are only in self-limiting conditions. At the AVMC, we are scientific enough to know that some cases will resolve on their own, so making interpretation of any single result quite difficult. However, in referral practice, we know that the cases seen have defied many types of input before being presented for homeopathy, thus lessening the likelihood of them being self-limiting. Of course, the results of any veterinary intervention, conventional or otherwise, must be viewed to be possibly the result of self-limitation of the condition.
The six UK veterinary schools have reduced or totally removed student exposure to natural medicine, despite a unanimous motion by the AVS (Association of Veterinary Students), several years ago, for more 'alternative' content within the undergraduate curriculum. The reason for this reduction is not clear but, of course, academic posts are linked to research funding, in many cases, which comes from commerce. One veterinary school has recently re-opened the communication channel, which is very encouraging.
There are many signs of erosion of this prejudice, demonstrated by increased co-operation between vets on both Ďsidesí. This is undoubtedly helped by proper ethical and professional conduct and openness, by veterinary homeopaths and by showing consideration and respect for mutual but healthy scepticism.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, until recently, separately listed the holders of the Facultyís Membership qualification in its Register. This meant that, in homeopathy at least, there was recognition of the efforts that those vets who practice alternative medicine have put in, towards specialisation. Sadly, this listing has ceased, since 2006, for unclear reasons. The result is that it is more difficult for veterinary surgeons or for the animal-owning public to locate veterinary homeopathic referral services.
Some clients complain of resistance by veterinary surgeons to referral for homeopathy. If a veterinary practice refuses to supply a referral note or history, for homeopathic or other veterinary natural medicine, on request, then this should be a matter for discussion and diplomacy. We at the AVMC are happy to help in any way we can, on behalf of prospective clients and their animals. The RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct requires veterinary surgeons to co-operate with referrals and second opinions, when sought by clients.
If argument and professional rivalry pertain, in the management of a case, this can only be to the potential detriment of the patient. The AVMC always seeks a harmonious and co-operative route, in any dealings between veterinary surgeons. A sincere wish to help a sick animal, in any way possible, with frank and clear discussion should break down barriers. The animal patient is the priority in all our dealings and we try to ensure nothing can stand in the way of the best for the animal.
The public (i.e. the consumer) is ever more supportive of homeopathy. These days, despite residual professional prejudice, hardly a day goes by without some mention of natural medicine, in the national news or press. Twenty years ago, things were very different. In those days, an item on homeopathic medicine or organic farming, in the national press, was a very rare event.
Veterinary surgeons are not entitled to obstruct requests for referral or second opinion. On the contrary, the RCVS guidelines stipulate facilitation of such transactions. In todayís more Ďliberatedí and 'enlightened' environment, there should be no obstacle to obtaining the treatment you wish for your animal. We behave professionally and work for the benefit of the patient. This motivation should unite all vets.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, of course. On this issue, as in so many walks of life, there appears to be a wide spectrum of differing views and reactions. There are those who are scornful, there are those that would mock, there are those who are downright hostile, there are those with little or no opinion. There are also those who are open-minded, professional and ethical enough to observe results and want for their patients anything which might help, and these are the vets who continue to ask for homeopathic help or to assist their clients in seeking homeopathic help, when asked.
At the end of all this, care and concern for animal welfare has to be the bottom line. If a system of medicine, however incredible, may help just 1% of patients not helped by established methods, it is worth exploring! It would appear that a great deal more than 1% of such patients are helped by homeopathy (outcome analysis).
At a time when there is such a high incidence of adverse reactions to prescription medicines, worldwide, many resulting in death, surely it behoves us to show some humility and to search earnestly for another way? The true picture of the current toll of modern pharmaceutical drug medication is very obscure. In the UK, the level of reporting under the 'voluntary' SARSScheme is woefully low, making the monitoring of efficacy and safety of drugs in the field a very poor science indeed (in both human and veterinary medicine). According to the Center for Drug Safety (in the USA), reported Adverse Drug Events (ADEs) result in more than 2.1 million injuries each year and the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that 100,000 Americans die annually of adverse reactions to prescription drugs. That organisation also states that the FDA's Office of Drug Risk Assessment calculates only 1% of ADEs are reported. Coupling that with the very low efficacy claims (15%), made by the BMJ above, makes bleak reading. The above figures are therefore hopelessly underestimated. Figures from the veterinary world have not been found. Are we seriously being told that it is better to kill 100,000 American citizens (or many times that number) each year with drug medicine and who knows how many animals than to use homeopathy?
Perhaps one of the problems homeopathy has, on its path to mainstream acceptance, is the expert?
Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre
Holistic Vet - Homeopathic Vet - Acupuncture Vet - Herbal Vet - Natural Vet
Copyright © AVMC - March 2007
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Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre
holistic vet - homeopathic
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