FMPs (Frequently Made Points)

Science can't explain everything. Just because we don't understand how homeopathy works, doesn't mean it doesn't.

Sure, science can't explain everything. However it has established that if you dilute something in such a way that none of the original substance remains, none of the original substance remains. It has also established that if something is not present, it cannot have an effect.

Nevertheless, science is about remaining open-minded, and if any credible evidence emerges that homeopathy is effective, we'll be the first to demand its acceptance.

Homeopathy is quackery, but it's harmless. So why not allow those who practice it to continue unhindered?

Homeopathy is not harmless. Prescribing water in place of proven medicines compromises animal welfare, particularly so in the presence of the caregiver placebo effect. When homeopathy is used after conventional medicine has failed, or as an adjunct, it still compromises human and animal welfare, diverting funds which could instead be used to improve the patient's wellbeing in other ways and offering false hope. More generally, supporting or indulging discredited medicine devalues rational conventional medicine, and has a knock-on effect on human patients ("The vet told me it works on animals, so surely it can work for me too").

I'm uncomfortable that this campaign might impact on the livelihood of a colleague.

So are we. But harsh though it may seem, that's not a reason to indulge the practice of discredited medicine which is not in the patient's best interest. However, we do sympathise with this viewpoint, and are not calling for the outlawing of homeopathy. Just that it should no longer receive the tacit endorsement of our professional qualification. Our regulatory body should come into line with the NHS and make it clear to the public that homeopathy is ineffective.

It's the thin edge of the wedge. As a veterinary surgeon, I believe it should be my right to prescribe whatever I believe will be efficacious.

But, of course, you don't have that right anyway! In fact, our campaign only calls for homeopathy to be subject to the same standards as any other branch of medicine. Let's face it, we would not tolerate the launch of a new prescription medicine which was either completely untested or failed to demonstrate any benefit whatsoever, particularly if the mechanism proposed to underlie it’s alleged effects was irrational and counter to scientific understanding. Why should we demand less of homeopathy?