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Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Head-to-head: Homeopathic veterinary treatments
A black cat
Some vets claim homeopathy can benefit animals
Vets and academics have expressed concern to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons over the use of homeopathic treatments for animals.

They are unhappy that homeopathic treatments do not undergo the same rigorous checks as scientific medicines

But homeopathy users say their animals benefit from their branch of medicine.

CARL BARTON, FARM MANAGER FOR GOODWOOD ESTATE, WEST SUSSEX

Our argument is that most problems can be cured easily by homeopathy.

No beast is allowed to suffer within any system. We do revert back to antibiotics when needed.

I'm not knocking vets and I've no problem with calling in a vet in certain circumstances.

Scientists aren't ready for what we do. They need to come on our farms and look at what we're doing
Carl Barton

When we do use drugs they are a certain kind for a specific type of bacteria.

But vets need to increase their skills and work out why homeopathy works.

Now you have vets writing snotty letters but they should be spending their time getting out to farms where homeopathy is being employed.

If they worked out what we're doing and how we're doing it then that would improve their practices.

The sceptics will always knock everything until it's proved otherwise.

Scientists aren't ready for what we do. They need to come on our farms and look at what we're doing.

People say homeopathy doesn't work but it's been going for 2,000 years which is a long time.

PROFESSOR DEREK KNOTTENBELT, OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL

My major concern is the inherent lack of control over what is purported to be medical therapy.

If I wanted to register a conventional drug I would have to go through very strict controls.

The breast cancer drug Herceptin, for example, was held back and held back until clinical trials were conducted.

Homeopathy relies on the placebo effect, but you cannot transfer that to an animal because it doesn't have a concept, a psychological awareness of what it is taking
Professor Derek Knottenbelt

If that drug had been homeopathic there would not have been anything to stop it coming straight on the market.

If people make a therapeutic, claim then they have to make themselves open to scientific scrutiny because people are paying money for it.

An animal cannot choose its treatment. The person who makes the decision has to understand the underlying science of physiology, pathology and chemistry so they can make the correct judgement for the benefit of the animal.

Homeopathy relies on the placebo effect, but you cannot transfer that to an animal because it doesn't have a concept, a psychological awareness of what it is taking.

There's an inherent inconsistency and those who practise it argue amongst themselves as to what's good and what's not.

When they show themselves to have evidence-based medicine then there will be no problem with the concept of this.

I'm prepared to have my mind changed, but I've not seen anything whatsoever that's even worth a second glance scientifically.



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