As I discussed last month, the AVMA House of Delegates will soon vote on Resolution 3, declaring that all veterinary therapies should be judged by the same standard, the standard of scientific evidence, and that homeopathy has consistently failed to meet this standard over 200 years and should be discarded. Lots of people have weighed in on this important topic. Of course, the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (AVH) and American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) are strongly opposed to the resolution. This is no surprise since it challenges practices that form the core of their professional identity (and a significant source of income). However, support for the resolution has come from a small but diverse group of organizations willing to take an unpopular stand, based on principle and scientific evidence, and openly criticize the merits of homeopathy.
The Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Association (EBVMA), which was involved in drafting the white paper supporting the resolution (The Case Against Homeopathy), submitted this letter to the Delegates:
November 30, 2012
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Association (EBVMA) to encourage you to support AVMA Resolution 3 in the AVMA House of Delegates during the 2013 Winter Session.
The AVMA has issued many policy statements acknowledging that veterinary medicine should be based on sound, legitimate science. The AVMA Policy on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, for example, states, “Claims for safety and effectiveness ultimately should be proven by the scientific method…Practices and philosophies that are ineffective or unsafe should be discarded.” However, despite overwhelming evidence and consensus among scientists that homeopathy is ineffective, a few veterinarians continue to promote it as an adjunct or alternative to conventional scientific medicine. This diminishes the credibility of the veterinary profession and does a disservice to our patients and our clients.
Other national veterinary groups, including the Australian Veterinary Association and the British Veterinary Association, have publically acknowledged that homeopathy is not an effective therapeutic approach. As the leading veterinary association in the world, it is important that the AVMA also demonstrate its commitment to modern, evidence-based medicine and the interests of our patients and the public. Resolution 3 protects the integrity of the AVMA and the veterinary profession as well as the trust of the public on which we depend.
The EBVMA Board of Directors unanimously endorses Resolution 3 and the supporting documents introduced to the AVMA House of Delegates by the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association, and we encourage you to support passage of this important policy statement.
Brennen McKenzie, MA, VMD
President, Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Association
EBVMA Board of Directors
Brennen McKenzie, VMD, MA
Stuart Turner, DVM, MS
Annette O’Connor, BVSc, MVSc, DVSc, FACVSc (Epidemiology)
Thomas Doker, DVM, MPH
Ken Drobatz, DVM, MSCE, DACVIM, DACVECC
Virginia Fajt, DVM, PhD
Joe Hauptman, DVM, MS, DACVS
John Gay, DVM, PhD, DACVPM
Brad Hanna, BSc, DVM, MSc, PhD
Marnie Brennan, BSc (VB), BVMS, PhD
The American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology also submitted the following letter of support:
December 11, 2012
AVMA House of Delegates
Re: Comment on Proposed Resolution 3 for the House of Delegates 2013 WinterSession
The American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology (ACVCP) supports the proposed Resolution 3 for the Regular Winter Session of the AVMA House of Delegates in January 2013, submitted by the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association. The Resolution proposes that AVMA have a policy that states homeopathy is an ineffective practice and that its use as a veterinary therapy be discouraged.
The ACVCP concurs with the authors of the Resolution and its accompanying white paper that there is strong evidence that the theoretical foundations of homeopathy are inconsistent with established principles of chemistry, physics, biology and physiology, and that clinical evidence has not proven the practice of homeopathy to be effective at treating or preventing disease. The ACVCP cannot support any treatment modality not supported by clinical evidence of efficacy, particularly if such treatment may result in financial loss to the owner and may harm the animal due to delayed/withheld treatment with remedies that have been proven to be effective.
The ACVCP urges the House of Delegates to approve this resolution, which sends a message about the importance of science and the principles of evidence-based veterinary medicine when treating veterinary patients.
On behalf of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology
Dawn Merton Boothe, DVM, PhD
Diplomate, ACVIM (Internal Medicine), Diplomate ACVCP
President, American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology
Professor, Anatomy, Physiology & Pharmacology
Director, Clinical Pharmacology
College of Veterinary Medicine
The American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics also submitted a supporting letter, and the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners has indicated it supports the resolution as well.
A number of individual veterinarians from around the world have also indicated their agreement with the resolution and the contents of the CVMA white paper.
Gary Block, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Internal Medicine)
Steven Budsberg, DVM, BS, MS, DACVS
Tad Coles, DVM
Carmen Czachor, DVM
Valeri Devaney, DVM
Arnold Goldman, DVM, MS, MPH
David Haas, DVM
David Jaggar, MRCVS, DC Linda Jorgensen, DVM, DACVIM
Susan Jelinski, DVM, PhD
Rebecca Greene, DVM
Philip J Johnson, BVSc(Hons), MS, Diplomate ACVIM-LAIM, Diplomate ECEIM, MRCVS William Kurmes, DVM
Elaine Burkhart DVM
Robert Larson, DVM, PhD
Roy Montgomery, DVM, PhD
Gerald S. Post, DVM, MEM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Narda G. Robinson, DO, DVM, MS, DABMA, FAAMA
Mark A Holmes MA, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS
Tatjana K. Mirkovic, BSc, DVM, DACVIM (Internal Medicine)
Joerg Steiner Joerg Steiner, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA
Timothy A. Allen, DVM, DACVIM (Internal Medicine)
Wendy Foster BSc DVM DVSc DACVIM
Douglas C. Bronstad, DVM, DACVIM (Internal Medicine)
Tabitha A. Hutton, DVM, MTR, DACVIM (Internal Medicine)
David W. Ramey, DVM
Susan Jelinski, PhD DVM Mark Rishniw, BVSc, MS, PhD, DACVIM (Cardiology & Internal Medicine)
Leonard D. Jonas DVM, MS, DACVIM
Martin L. Whitehead BSc, PhD, BVSc, CertSAM, MRCVS
Fiona M.K. James, DVM, MSc., DVSc., ACVIM (Neurology)
Brad Burrington, DVM
Richard Meadows, DVM, DABVP
Romain Beraud, DVM, MSc, DES, dipl. ACVS
Deborah Cottrell DVM
The AVH and AHVMA have tried to cast this debate in terms of malign personal agendas and bias, but this is both an inappropriate and unprofessional attempt to dodge the substance of the issue and patently untrue. Of the 92,000 veterinarians in the U.S., about 133 are members of the AVH, and while not only AVH members employ homeopathy, it is likely to be only a tiny percentage of the profession. This passionate and vocal minority is entitled to make their case publically, as are skeptics of homeopathy. However, the case should be argued on the basis of the evidence, not innuendo and personal attacks. It is clear that recognition of the implausibility and lack of efficacy of homeopathy is widespread in veterinary medicine, and attempts to characterize the situation otherwise are merely a distraction from the facts.
Well, homeopathic remedies have worked well for me and my horses. They are an affordable treatment option for many health concerns. And I will continue to use them.
I wonder why the pharmaceutical companies don’t like homeopathic remedies? Maybe because they won’t make a fortune on them? Also, vets don’t make money on them. Wonder what role money plays into their decision to bash homeopathic remedies?
A typical response, and sadly one that illustrates the failure to understand the function and need for science and the limitations of our personal experiences. Personal experience is treated here as so reliable that the results of scientific research which contradicts that experience can simply be dismissed. This ignores the overwhelming evidence that, in fact, our personal experiences are deeply unreliable, as well as the evidence of history that relying on science has worked far better than relying on our own observations ever did in understanding, preventing and treating disease. This kind of belief represents a widespread misconception that is really quite dangerous.
And, of course, the motives of anyone who disagrees are questioned in order to provide an excuse for ignoring those opinions. This is always an easy way out of dealing with the actual evidence. The faults of the pharmaceutical industry are many. They are also irrelevant to the clear evidence that homeopathy is a placebo.
Boiron makes a LOT of money. How is this different than a pharmaceutical company making money? At least the pharmaceutical company has something with an active ingredient.