The RCVS’ position statement on homeopathy and other complementary therapies has set a “dangerous precedent” that limits the clinical freedom the veterinary profession has always enjoyed, it has been claimed.

Earlier this month (VT47.46) RCVS council approved a position statement that expressed the view “homeopathy is not based on sound scientific principles”.

The statement has drawn rebuke from two veterinary homeopathic bodies that believe it has “serious implications for the whole profession and the future of veterinary medicine”.

Authors also feel aggrieved at what they see as the failure of the RCVS to engage with homeopathic stakeholders before releasing the statement.

A statement signed by Peter Gregory, veterinary dean of the Faculty of Homeopathy, stated: “The new position statement on homeopathy and other complementary therapies issued by the RCVS has serious implications for the whole profession and the future of veterinary medicine.

“The Faculty of Homeopathy is joining with the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons to engage with the RCVS to outline their concerns.

“Firstly, the RCVS failed to consult with stakeholders actually involved in homeopathy and complementary medicine before considering and issuing its statement. This is contrary to the usual procedure followed by the RCVS when reviewing important matters relating to clinical practice…”

The statement continued: “…There is growing interest in homeopathy from animal owners, as they see conventional medicines regularly failing or producing adverse side effects. This is especially true in livestock farming, where there is a drive to reduce the dependence on antibiotics in light of concerns about antimicrobial resistance.

“At such a time, it is disappointing the RCVS appears to be criticising vets who are best placed to offer advice on the appropriate use of homeopathy.

“It is clear that by adopting this position in relation to homeopathy and other complementary therapies, the RCVS is limiting the clinical freedom the veterinary profession has always enjoyed.

“Moreover, in allowing a vocal minority to influence its policy on this issue, the RCVS has set a dangerous precedent where similar groups could, in the future, restrict clinical freedom further, as well as stifle innovation, research and the development of new treatments. This presents a far greater threat to animal welfare than homeopathy could ever be.”

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