the routine use of antibiotics as a preventative measure to treat our cows’ ailments is not permitted.
Well yes, good, but…
As a result of this Steve, the Herd Manager on one of our farms began investigating alternative options to the use of antibiotics and began studying a course on homeopathic treatments. Since then, Steve has been implementing what he has learnt by using homeopathic treatments and remedies to treat his cows for a number of issues, including warding-off flies and easing the cows’ stress levels when having their feet clipped.
The treatments have so far proved successful and, unlike with antibiotics, cows don’t build up immunity to these remedies. In fact, they encourage the cows’ immune systems to fight bugs themselves.The use of homeopathic treatments not only helps to develop a more robust immune system, it also means no withdrawal periods for milk and meat while the animal is being treated, as would be the case when antibiotics are used.
Really?? What a load of tosh.
So, bro sends them an e-mail.
Homeopathy huh – won’t be buying anymore of your products then if you believe in treatments with no scientific proof. What other woo might you be trying I wonder.
A little terse, but hey. They did reply, beginning with:
Thank you for your recent email, we always appreciate hearing from our consumers. We are always pleased to get feedback and thank you very much for your comments.
Sadly they went on to copy-paste from their website the chunk I’ve quoted above, followed with some more from the website:
However, this doesn’t mean we completely avoid more conventional treatments; if we need to treat an animal quickly and effectively we will always choose the treatment, either conventional or alternative, that will be most beneficial to the cow to aid its recovery and this may involve antibiotic use.
Oh good! That’s a relief.
Steve’s convinced that homeopathic treatments offer a viable, practical option so he continues to favour treating his herd homeopathically whenever appropriate. I shall pass your email along to the farm and they will contact you in due course if interested.
Is he now. Sounds like he needs reporting to the appropriate welfare board to me.
I would like to reassure you that we operate the highest level of animal welfare standards on all of our farms. Not only are we strong supporters of the welfare system developed by The Soil Association for cattle producing organic milk, we also take care of the environment in which we operate and act responsibly and ethically in how we do business. Organics standards strictly admonish zero grazing techniques; cows cannot be permanently housed, but must spend the majority of their lives outdoors. The cows must have appropriate bedding and adequate space when they are brought indoors during bad weather during the winter months.
All very reassuring yes indeed, thanks.
Being an independent, family owned British business, we value our reputation and the loyalty of every one of our customers who buy our products. We have built our reputation on a combination of quality and word of mouth and would never knowingly do anything to jeopardise this.
Thank you once again for writing to us.
Sally Laurie – Marketing Team
Unfortunately (for the company; fortunately more generally) plenty of people are well aware that homeopathy is bunk, it has no effect, being just water/sugar, and using it instead of actual treatments is simply irresponsible. Even if it is used in addition to proper treatment when required, this is still unnecessary, a complete waste of money and possibly traumatic for the animals depending on how it’s administered.
Interestingly, Zeno also contacted them back in January and received a very similar response from ‘Sally’.
Disappointing that a company claiming to value its customers’ views cannot answer such questions more effectively, but hopefully in time and with enough pressure, such ridiculous ideas will no longer be entertained and people won’t be employed to peddle such nonsense.
Edit: see also this correspondence between some of the Brighton Skeptics and the Soil Association regarding their use and support for woo in farming.
- “My final post on veterinary homeopathy… hopefully!” – thanks to Danny Chambers et al. for the hard work, and most of these links!
- “Homeopathy vets must stop unnecessary animal suffering, Royal College warns” (Telegraph, 2017)
“Stop vets from offering homeopathy- placebo doesn’t work for pets” (New Scientist, 2016, £)
“Why we are calling for a ban on vets offering homeopathic remedies” (Guardian, 2016)
Discussion on BBC with a homeopathic vet who claims to be able to cure cancer
The European Academies Science Advisory Council Statement on homeopathy (August 2017)