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Protesters raise concerns to RCVS

Protesters marched to The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to hand over a petition based on the Council’s recent statement on the use of complementary and alternative medicines, including homeopathy.

The delegation, of around 40, handed over a petition containing around 15,000 signatures calling for the RCVS to retract its original statement on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The petition, set up via an online platform, was handed to president Stephen May and CEO Lizzie Lockett.

The delegation which included representatives of the Society of Homeopaths, the British Homeopathic Association, Homeopathic Research Institute and the International Association of Veterinary Homeopaths as well as farmers, veterinary nurses chiropractors and pet owners handed the petition to RCVS president, Prof Stephen May.

The original statement, released on 2 November 2017, said: “Homeopathy exists without a recognised body of evidence for its use. Furthermore, it is not based on sound scientific principles. In order to protect animal welfare, we regard such treatments as being complementary rather than alternative to treatments for which there is a recognised evidence base or which are based in sound scientific principles.

“It is vital to protect the welfare of animals committed to the care of the veterinary profession and the public’s confidence in the profession that any treatments not underpinned by a recognised evidence base or sound scientific principles do not delay or replace those that do.”

In view of the cold, wet weather, the College had laid on some hot drinks for all the visitors, and invited the delegation inside, but these were declined.

Stephen said: “We were pleased to be able to meet our visitors today and to receive their petition, although it was a little tricky trying to answer questions on a busy London pavement!

“We continue to recognise that homeopathy and other complementary therapies are popular amongst some animal owners and certain members of the veterinary profession, as indicated by today’s delegation, but it is worth reiterating that the RCVS Council statement does not ban their use.

“What it does state, is that in order to protect animal welfare, we regard such treatments as being complementary, rather than alternative, to treatments for which there is a recognised evidence base or which are based on sound scientific principles.

“This is similar to the position that we have held on complementary therapies for many years, but we will always be happy to receive and consider scientific evidence that demonstrates their efficacy.”

The British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons spokesperson and veterinarian, Ilse Pedler, said, “We are disappointed that RCVS continues to ignore the concerns of its members, farmers and the general public. Public support for CAM and homeopathic vets in particular has been overwhelming.”

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