EU mandates homeopathy for sick animals on British organic farms

Since Europe is less soaked in religion than is the U.S., I always think of Across the Pond as a more rational and humane place than my own country. And yet I’m repeatedly disappointed. They may be less religious over there, but they have their own special forms of woo, and one of them is homeopathy. When I lived in France, I was continually amazed at the profusion of homeopathic pharmacies and the number of scientists who dosed themselves with homeopathic water.

And now the Muscles in Brussels, otherwise known as the EU, is indulging in homeopathy to the extent that its administration has become law. Law, that is, as a means of treating sick animals on organic farms. As yesterday’s Torygraph reports:

British organic farmers are being forced to treat their livestock with homeopathic remedies under new European Commission rules branded ‘scientifically illiterate’ by vets.

Although homeopathy has been branded as ‘rubbish’ by the government’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, organic farmers have been told they must try it first under a new EU directive which came into force in January.

The regulation means that animals could be left diseased or in pain for far longer than necessary and organic meat could end up containing higher levels of bacteria, vets have warned.

. . . The directive states that: “it is a general requirement…for production of all organic livestock that (herbal) and homeopathic products… shall be used in preference to chemically-synthesised allopathic veterinary treatment or antibiotics.”

. . . The Department for Food and Rural Affairs admitted that organic farmers were bound by the new regulations but said they could resort to other means, such as antibiotics, without losing their ‘organic’ status if homeopathic remedies proved to be ineffective.

And this is the sickest part:

It even emerged that the British government had voted in favour of the new rules.

Yet there’s support for this in other quarters of the UK as well:

The Soil Association, one of the leading bodies certifying organic produce in the UK is broadly supportive of homeopathy.

Natasha Collins-Daniel, the Soil Association’s press officer, stressed that while the use of homeopathic treatments was “not mandatory” to gain an organic certification, it could be effective.

“We have significant collective experience from livestock farmers and vets showing that herbal treatments and homeopathic approaches can help them care for their animals,” she said.

Seriously, EU and UK? What is that about? Are “organic” cows and pigs supposed to be treated with “organic” (i.e., stupid and ineffective) remedies? In the face of overwhelming evidence that homeopathy is quackery, the EU is still ordering British organic farmer to Try Water First. Or maybe they think that what doesn’t work on humans might just work on animals. No matter what, it’s just insane. This follows a story from 2011 that the EU spent €1.8 million for research on the effectiveness of homeopathy on farm animals.

Now let me give a caveat here: the story appears to have originated in the Torygraph, and has been taken from that report by other venues. So there’s a possibility that this is bogus. Stay tuned.

But the stalwart Brits are fighting back:

John Blackwell, President of the British Veterinary Association, said: “We should always use medicines which have a strong science base and homeopathic remedies are not underpinned by any strong science.

“Disease is painful and farmers have an obligation to reduce that pain and not allow their animals to suffer so this regulation is troubling. It may lead to serious animal health and welfare detriment.

“If animals are not treated promptly it could lead to an underlying level of pathogen which could mean that the animal was no longer fit for human consumption.”

I’m hoping this is a mistaken story, for it bespeaks a profound stupidity on the part of the EU and the Soil Association.

h/t: Robin

80 Comments

  1. John
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Call me sheltered but I haven’t come across the “Muscles in Brussels” moniker…love it!

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted April 25, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I strongly suspect that moniker has an intentional double meaning:Muscles in Brussels.

      • John
        Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Forgot about that master thespian…ugh

        • Timothy Hughbanks
          Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          I actually get a kick out of comparing muscle guys’ terrible acting. Of all the action movie “badass” actors (J-C. Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Dolf Lundgen, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel, Steven Seagal, …), I’d argue that Steven Seagal is the worst. I’ll admit that Lundgen is objectively as bad, but Seagal strikes me as funnier – a kind of action hero version of Zoolander – the same expression for every emotion.

          • John
            Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

            Tough lot to pick from, but I’d have to agree. Seagal’s on-screen persona seems indistinguishable from his real life one as evidenced by his recent escapades in Russia. What a role model. 😦

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 26, 2015 at 3:21 am | Permalink

            They all have the acting ability of wood and the charisma of a speedbump.

            I am partial to one work starring JCVD (or in reality starring a Volvo truck. I find it just incredible that a pair of trucks can be so precisely controlled, and one of them an artic.) It is of course this one:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts_PVB5sR6U

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted April 25, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Or did he mean moule et frites?

  2. Posted April 25, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    “Try water first”

    Well, I know it wouldn’t fly, but as soon as a rational farmer notices a sick animal she could just say she did try water first; after all, the animals “try” water every day!

    • Lesli
      Posted April 25, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      That was my first thought. A cup of water–or heck, a whole bucket! And a lump of sugar. There ya go. All bases covered.

    • Colin
      Posted April 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, but you have to realize that the water probably hasn’t been cut to 200C or whatever the preferred dilution is….also, it probably wasn’t shaken or stirred just right between dilutions, so, you know it is just the wrong water. After all, homeopaths wouldn’t be able to sell their own kind of water if it was the same as “ordinary” water

  3. bonetired
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    It isn’t bogus … Here is the actual EU directive:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:31999R1804&from=EN

    Search within that document for “homeop” and you will see the references!

    Try this:

    ““(a) The use of veterinary medicinal products in organic farming shall comply with the following principles: (a) Phytotherapeutic (e.g. plant extracts (excluding antibiotics), essences, etc.), homeopathic products (e.g. plant, animal or mineral substances) and trace elements and products listed in Part C, section 3 of Annex II, shall be used in preference to chemically-synthesised allopathic veterinary medicinal products or antibiotics, provided that their therapeutic effect is effective for the species of animal, and the condition for which the treatment is intended; ”

    Notice the words “shall be used in preference”…..

    • terryfuckwit
      Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      I’d have said that the words “..provided that their therapeutic effect is effective for the species of animal, and the condition for which the treatment is intended” places a burden of proof on someone, somewhere along the line to demonstrate scientifically that use of such ‘treatments’ is in fact effective. Otherwise they cannot be used in preference to anything else. I’m sure we all wish them good luck with that.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted April 25, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        The problem is, in the meantime the animals are suffering. Homeopathic remedies have no place in the legislation. And, as someone else suggested above, farmers shouldn’t have to lie.

        The very fact that homeopathy is mentioned in the legislation gives it credibility, and this is appalling. It would not be there if the legislation was evidence-based and its authors cared about animals.

        • matunos
          Posted April 25, 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

          I think the commenter above meant that until a specific homeopathic remedy is proven effective (elsewhere), a farmer would be within their rights to dismiss it and go right to a treatment that has been proven effective.

          • terryfuckwit
            Posted April 26, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

            Yep. Also, a farmer who uses a homeopathic ‘remedy’ in preference to others without any credible verifiable prior means of demonstrating it’s effectiveness would be in breach of the directive.

            But anyway, I now agree with other commenters that this is pretty much nothing more than a bullshit story cooked up in the heat of the forthcoming general election by the anti-EU crowd.

            • Barney
              Posted April 26, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

              I don’t think it’s “cooked up” for the British general election; notice that the Norwegian vets (who typically have to follow EU directives for their products to have access to the EU) are complaining too. Whether it’s really ‘new’, as the Torygraph claims, seems less clear – it seems to have been in the regulations before, then was removed, and now it’s been put back again (see other replies).

              And in December, some Soil Association trustees resigned, partly because a doctor on the management committee said homeopathy is dangerous nonsense.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted April 26, 2015 at 12:19 am | Permalink

      I suppose if organic is to mean anything they do have to have standards, to keep the chemical nasty’s out.
      If the criteria “…provided that their therapeutic effect is effective for the species of animal, and the condition for which the treatment is intended”
      was the primary governing condition, it might not be so bad.

      I like modern medicine, and other modern wonders myself.

    • Posted April 26, 2015 at 1:46 am | Permalink

      Notice the date – this is a directive from *1999*. Doesnt male it less crazy, but does highlight that this is an EU-bashing story from the Telegraph, not unconnected with the current election campaign – MC

      • bonetired
        Posted April 26, 2015 at 3:38 am | Permalink

        Sorry but that is the date of the original EU directive which is STILL in effect as this summary shows:

        http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/eu-policy/eu-rules-on-production/livestock/index_en.htm

        • bonetired
          Posted April 26, 2015 at 3:43 am | Permalink

          Further thoughts: I agree that the publication of the article at the time of the election is probably not a coincidence but the fact that the EU, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still insists upon the use of homeopathy before scientific based medicine shows how stupid that directive is.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted April 26, 2015 at 3:43 am | Permalink

          Yeah BUT – why has it resurfaced in the Mail and Torygraph right now?

          More to the point, has it ever been seriously enforced? I would think that would be highly relevant to the story.

          • bonetired
            Posted April 26, 2015 at 3:59 am | Permalink

            Whether it has been enforced or not doesn’t really matter. The fact it is still in is lunacy. Not only is it still valid, the EU is proposing to keep it in (and missing the chance to get the pseudoscience removed) just provides ammunition to the EU’s enemies, the number of which are growing both in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

            http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/documents/eu-policy/policy-development/report-and-annexes/proposal-annex_en.pdf

            ( I suspect that it is this document rather than the earlier one that triggered this story )

            • Barney
              Posted April 26, 2015 at 6:32 am | Permalink

              That document, dated March 2014, seems to say a vet can go straight to using real medicines if they think that’s needed to prevent suffering – “when the use of phytotherapeutic, homeopathic and other products is inappropriate”.

              Dated April 2014, we have a document putting back ‘homeopathic’ into ‘what must be tried first’:

              “Phytotherapeutic and homeopathic products, trace elements and products listed in Section 1 of Annex V and in Section 3 of Annex VI shall be used in preference to chemically-synthesised allopathic veterinary treatment or antibiotics, provided that their therapeutic effect is effective for the species of animal, and the condition for which the treatment is intended”

              (it explains the words ‘homeopathic products’ had been omitted in a 2012 amendment to the 2008 document – ‘erroneously’, though I wonder if someone sensible had removed it when no-one silly was looking …)

              A vet may say “provided that their therapeutic effect is effective for the species of animal” means they can always skip considering homeopathic products, and go straight to actual medicines; but it might mean an argument with an organic farmer who is convinced there is some evidence.

              I can see why the vets don’t want this “shall be used in preference”. This isn’t about dosing animals with antibiotics before they’re ill because that seems to promote growth, but builds up antibiotic resistance – not resorting to antibiotics until there’s a specific need would seem a sensible rule to me. Since this is for when an animal is already ill and suffering, the professional should be allowed to use their judgement on what will work best.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 26, 2015 at 4:10 am | Permalink

            ” (a) Phytotherapeutic (e.g. plant extracts (excluding antibiotics), essences, etc.), homeopathic products (e.g. plant, animal or mineral substances) and trace elements and products listed in Part C, section 3 of Annex II, shall be used…. provided that their therapeutic effect is effective…”

            Several thoughts occur. ‘Homeopathic products’ as they define there don’t sound to me like the infinitely diluted products of ‘real’ homeopathy, and it’s only one of several options they list. Secondly, they say ‘PROVIDED that their therapeutic effect is effective’. Which as we know rules out ‘real’ homeopathy. I wonder if whoever wrote that directive was being leaned on by the homeopathic lobby and worded it very carefully accordingly.

            There’s another very valid point – using non-antibiotic remedies first as the directive suggests. The farming industry regularly doses perfectly healthy animals with antibiotics, which is going to lead to huge problems with antibiotic-resistant diseases in the near future (that is, if climate change fuelled by methane-farting cows doesn’t kill us all first.) It think that directive (with maybe a line put through the ‘homeopathic’ bit) should be imposed on all farming.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 26, 2015 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      It sounds absolutely insane to me. Well down there with the normal fare of Europhobia that I’d expect from the Daily Fail or The Scum. That it has actually made it to legislation … says more about politicians and lawyers than it does about the efficacy of homeopathy.

      said they could resort to other means, such as antibiotics, without losing their ‘organic’ status if homeopathic remedies proved to be ineffective.

      Now, since homeopathic remedies get more effective at greater dilutions (given the appropriate shake, rattle and roll), surely the greatest possible dilution would be to prepare the Mumbo-Jumbo juice somewhere and then not give it to the animal at all.
      In fact, you could possibly increase the effect by increasing the size of the animal, thereby even further diluting the material you didn’t give to it. A good method for increasing the size of a farm animal is to dose it with a sub-therapeutic dose of antibiotics. Therefore, increasing the size of the animal even further by giving it a therapeutic dose of an appropriate antibiotic is 100% proof of the efficacy of homeopathy.
      + + + Divide by cheese error. Re-install universe and reboot.! + + +

      • Posted April 26, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Now, since homeopathic remedies get more effective at greater dilutions (given the appropriate shake, rattle and roll), surely the greatest possible dilution would be to prepare the Mumbo-Jumbo juice somewhere and then not give it to the animal at all.

        I must be missing something.

        Wouldn’t it be even more effective to not prepare the Mumbo-Jumbo juice before not giving it to the animal?

        It would be even more effective than that for the very concept of the Mumbo-Jumbo juice itself to be diluted out of existence, too, but that seems to be a bit of a challenge at the moment….

        b&

        • merilee
          Posted April 26, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          Oh, noes….Do we have to worry that there might still be a tiny bit of mumbo-jumbo juice in our tap water, along with the Commie fluoride??

          • Posted April 26, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

            I might be more worried about the precious bodily fluids in our…uh…fluids….

            b&

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted April 30, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          When are you thirstier? When you’re shrivelling under the desert sun, or when YOU are shrivelling in the desert sun, and someone else is guzzling from a full water bottle?
          Was (if I remember Hades right) Tantalus waste deep in a sand pit or a river of cool fresh water?

          • Posted April 30, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            Does not compute…if somebody else has just guzzled all the water in front of you, don’t you simply slit open one of their veins and drink your fill? Why would you stay thirsty?

            b&

    • Posted April 26, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Whenever you see “allopathic” in reference to anything about medicine, enormous red-flags should go up. Nobody but quacks call medicine (i.e. chemicals that work and have a body of empirically based good evidence that shows that they do work) “allopathic” except quackaloons.

      It’s is as sure a sign of quackasculduggery as any. In fact whenever I see it written, I know weirdness, lying, and generalized voodoo will follow.

  4. Posted April 25, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the EU was influenced by Prince Charles via his black spider memos.

    Mike

  5. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Imagine my surprise upon learning that a lecturer in my chemistry department is a fan of homeopathy. I had never spoken with her about it in the years since I’d heard a rumor about it from another colleague, but she adopted a confimatory defensive stance about it whan I visited her home a couple of years ago. I have a tendency to peruse people’s bookshelves when visiting them (is that rude?) and while doing that at her place, she came up to me and pointed to section of books and said, defensively, “There are the homopathy books over there.” It was really weird, but in a way I’m getting used to. First of all, I wasn’t looking for her homeopathy books – the whole issue had completely slipped my mind. Secondly, it is reasonable to assume that fellow scientists have given her some flack about it, and yet her idiocy persists. People are very strange.

    • Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      “Does not compute.”

      A chemist who’s fallen prey to that mind virus?

      Does she not know what a water molecule is? Does she have some confusion over the number of quarks and electrons in a water molecule and their general arrangement? Is she not familiar with the term, “mole”?

      b&

      • Timothy Hughbanks
        Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Does not compute at all. She’s retiring in a month or two, is a nice enough person, and it’s a conversation I don’t see myself remaining necessarily civil having – so I’m not having it.

        • chris moffatt
          Posted April 25, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          I worked in IT for forty years and during that time it was amazing how many ostensibly well-credentialled people in the field had little or no idea of basic principles. Doesn’t surprise me that a chemist would be unscientific. Closer to home my brother A PhD in ChemEng is an enthusiastic reader of that great charlatan Teilhard de Chardin.

          • Michael Waterhouse
            Posted April 26, 2015 at 12:03 am | Permalink

            When you say basic principles, do you mean stuff down at the register level or semiconductor theory and logic gates and stuff, or something more?
            I have mentioned before that I am most grateful to Richard Dawkins for taking my assumed understanding of evolution, down down to a more fundamental level.
            I have also mentioned before that it is my belief that the ‘education’ we talk about as helping solve the worlds problems, needs to include taking everybody down to these fundamental levels.
            Then people ought have enough knowledge to answer enough questions that superstition and religion, and the supposed questions they answer, will become meaningless.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 26, 2015 at 4:24 am | Permalink

            I’m not at all surprised that many people in IT are just plain ignorant. It’s a wide field and if one likens the people who write programs to Formula One car designers, at the opposite end there are (some!) administrators and help-desk clerks whose knowledge is confined to reading the script and who know as much about the fundamentals as a bus driver knows about engine design.

            But then I’m an engineer and we have our Harold Campings… more to the point, I can think of plenty of designs I’ve seen where the designer has carefully complied with all the codes and completely missed the point of what the design is supposed to do.

      • Sastra
        Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Homeopathy really falls under “spirituality” more than science. At bottom it entails an entire world view based on principles of magic and methods of faith — and evokes the same tropes of the simple believer and the arrogant skeptics. So I’d assume that a chemist could embrace homeopathy in the same way they’d believe in God: tried and true strategies involving equal parts compartmentalization and apologetics.

        • Timothy Hughbanks
          Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          She happens to be an atheist, by the way. Which just goes to show: http://s190.photobucket.com/user/JekyllnHyde_photos/media/May%2010th%202010/1582624.jpg.html

          • Sastra
            Posted April 25, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            I’ve frequently noticed that a lot of people who consider themselves atheist don’t necessarily meet the criteria I would use for that label, at least in part because they’re using a more narrow definition of “God” than I do. I’d include significant reality-shaping “spiritual” essences, powers, forces, and metaphysics in the God category, whereas a lot of people just want to distance themselves from fundamentalist Christian versions of the Lawgiver for moral reasons and label that, and only that, as “God.” They’ll then invoke something which other believers happily call “God” while insisting that nobody would or could call it God.

            Iow, a semantic war, akin to “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.” “I don’t believe in God, I just think that there’s an underlying purpose and meaning to the universe which goes beyond limited materialist views of consciousness” … or whatever. The philosophy behind homeopathy involves magical correspondences and intents structured into the nature of reality. Call that what you will. There’s just no way your chemist misunderstands homeopathy as “something having to do with herbs.”

            • Posted April 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

              Yes, yes.

              “God” to overwhelming numbers of people means YHWH and his spiritual descendants and equivalents. And, just as the early Christians were atheists to the Roman-era Pagans because they rejected the Greco-Roman pantheon, many (on both sides of the divide) consider rejection of that particular god (or class of gods) to be atheism.

              But there’re many more gods out there than YHWH and clones. And, if “atheism” is to have any meaning, it’s got to apply to all gods, not just the popular ones.

              If you don’t think there’s an old man in the sky somewhere but still think there’s some sort of vital life force pervading the foundation of the universe, whatever you are, you’re not an atheist.

              b&

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted April 25, 2015 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

                I agree completely.
                And it’s a point to keep in mind.
                I want being an atheist, especially my being an atheist, to be something complete and substantial.

                Without trying to take it places it doesn’t belong.
                If I mention Atheist Ireland would you guess what I was hinting at?

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted April 26, 2015 at 6:08 am | Permalink

                And, if “atheism” is to have any meaning, it’s got to apply to all gods, not just the popular ones.

                Except Baihu?

              • Posted April 26, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

                Well, that goes without saying.

                Besides. Just because you’re an atheist doesn’t mean you can’t have any gods! I mean, don’t we all, every last one of us, worship the Sun? Kinda hard to be alive on Earth and not worship the Sun, what with it giving us our daily bread and all….

                b&

        • Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          Still…just doesn’t make any sense. I mean, once you’ve peaked behind the curtain, shouldn’t it occur to you to realize that there aren’t any monsters under the bed…?

          Considering her reported attitude, I suspect she’s suffering insurmountable amounts of cognitive dissonance. She doesn’t actually believe, she knows it’s all bullshit, but she’s just too invested to be able to justify backing out at the point — even to herself.

          b&

  6. Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Bloody hell.

    This is, without doubt, cruelty to animals.

    Were I in Europe right now, I’d be in quite a pickle. In the States, if you’re committed to humane treatment of livestock, you’re only going to find a market if you also get that USDA certified organic label. In Europe, what I’m assuming is a comparable label is now a guarantee of inhumane treatment of livestock.

    What the fuck is a responsible omnivore supposed to do!?

    b&

  7. Compuholic
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I always think of Across the Pond as a more rational and humane place than my own country.

    And I think that is a mistake. As you said: we don’t experience religious fundamentalism to the same extent than in the U.S. but there is plenty of crazy to go around.

    I like to think of us as an example that a lack of religiosity does not necessarily translate into a more rational society.

    It is almost as if the people who are susceptible to religion have found a substitute superstition. I wonder if someone has done a study on that…

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 26, 2015 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      Well, some people have asserted that getting rid of religion will just leave a god-sized hole that needs to be filled somehow…

  8. Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    The homeopathy lobby in Europe has also been campaigning for ages to get homeopathy exempted from standard testing but still granted the status of “medicine” to get privileged access to doctors under EU legislation.

    When people tell me that homeopathy has been “proven by 200 studies”, I alway say don’t tell me, try to convince your own lobby group that they needn’t bother trying to get exemptions.

    It’s insanely popular here in Germany too of course. I find it hard to find a GP who *doesn’t* sell it.

  9. Sastra
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    One of the most popular defenses of alternative medicine is the claim that it “works on animals.” Obviously it can’t just be placebo if it works on animals, right?

    Wrong. There is no such thing as ‘THE placebo effect’ — there are placebo effects, about a dozen different possible causes for and reasons why something might appear to “work” when it really does not. And not all of them involve the patient themselves being fooled by expectation based on rhetoric. Animals get better on their own, animals respond to hands-on care, and the people who are evaluating the animal’s reaction are open to reporting bias.

    So this tactic is familiar, coming from the alt med community. What isn’t familiar though is the idea of mandating what people use and basically forcing them to choose homeopathy. Alties are usually strong proponents of the idea of free choice, deciding for yourself, making up your own mind, having options, picking alternatives, being empowered, tempering to the individual, and so on and so forth, as if deciding what medicine to use is as personal and sensitive as deciding what music to listen to. Don’t let anyone tell you what’s right for you. Health freedom.

    Using the law to promote homeopathy isn’t a new one — iirc the Nazis did it, too — but the lack of ‘choice’ involved with doing so certainly doesn’t seem to fit into what I recognize as one of their major talking points.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      It is typical human behavior though. In certain contexts pushing the free choice meme is effective at increasing legitimacy and profit. In certain other contexts, like when you have the power to compel rather than being limited to having to convince, taking peoples choice away becomes an even more effective means of increasing profit. And the real goal is the profit.

      I predict that they will continue to push the free choice meme at the same time that they are working hard to be able to force people to use their water. It makes no sense logically, but in politics and propaganda it works.

      • Sastra
        Posted April 25, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Yes. That’s one of the reasons I’m leery of endorsing the idea that New Age liberal ‘Spirituality’ is inherently less dangerous and controlling than the more traditional Abrahamic religions. Bottom line it’s based on faith, not reason and the necessity for doubt, debate and demonstration. Give it real power — social or political power — and my bet is we can watch the harmlessness melt away.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted April 26, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

          Agree completely.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    My brother was trying to raise organic goats in upstate New York when pneumonia started sweeping through the newborn goats. The mustard poultices just didn’t cut it, and one baby goat after another died. So they got the antibiotics, and the remaining sick goats quickly recovered.

    Why do the homeopaths and herbalists want the cute baby goats to die of pneumonia?

    • Posted April 25, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      So sad.

      I mean, the goats might even appreciate the comforting effect of the poultices…but only after you’ve gotten the right dose of the proper antibiotics down their gullets. Well, okay, they’re probably not going to like the act of ingesting the antibiotics, but they’ll forgive you for that, or at least forget about it. And, hey — you’ve got that nice poultice ready to make up for the injustice, no?

      b&

  11. retro
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    5 or 6 years ago I saw a veterinary magazine, the front page article was about the difficulty vets have in dealing with common diseases in organic livestock. The picture was of a newborn lamb dying of mucoid gastroenteritis – a short simple course of antibiotics would likely have saved the lambs life but, of course, the lamb could only be treated with alternative remedies. The mortality rate in organic lambs was higher than normal stock.
    I don’t eat organic meat, it supports cruelty.

  12. Christopher
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    With all due respect, I just spend 20 minutes trying to find ANY source at all for this, and concluded it is all garbage.

    The ONLY UK news agencies to pick this up are the Torygrath and the Dail Mail. The two most right wing, anti-EU, newspapers in Britain. I can’t find ANY evidence that this is an EU directive. At all.

    What I did find was the Ecologist (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2468118/eu_outlaws_animal_use_of_herbal_remedies_on_organic_farms.html)
    with a story from 2014 stating that the EU BANNED the use of ‘herbal remedies’ on organic farms.

    The whole story is, it seems, total guff. It sounds patronising to offer advice I know, and I certainly don’t mean to sound that way. But reporting anything from the Dail Mail or Torygraph is going to be a mistake. Just don’t bother with them.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted April 26, 2015 at 12:22 am | Permalink

      That’s hopeful.

  13. Posted April 25, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    🐷

  14. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    The regulation means that animals could be left diseased or in pain for far longer than necessary and organic meat could end up containing higher levels of bacteria, vets have warned.

    It also means that if any animals do happen to spontaneously recover, homeopathy will get undeserved credit for it.

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 26, 2015 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    I can see the logic. ‘Organic’ is trendy non-scientific New Age woo, so it is entirely consistent that the animal remedies used should be trendy non-scientific New Age woo too.

  16. boggy
    Posted April 26, 2015 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    Article in current New Scientist(No.3017)on placebos, though obviously aimed at humans.
    5 weird things:
    1. People with irritable bowel syndrome who knowingly receive a placebo do better than those left untreated.
    2. A placebo pain-killer works better if it is full priced, rather than a discounted version.
    3. 30-40% of rats exterienced pain relief when their morphine injections were swapped for saline.
    4. The nocebo effect makes people more likely to suffer side effects if warned about them by their doctor.
    5. Traits like being extroverted appear to be linked to placebo susceptibility.

  17. Mike
    Posted April 26, 2015 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    If we wern’t in May, I would have thought it was April 1st, how on this rational Earth “I wish” can a Placebo, which is all Homeopathy is at best work on Animals? seems in this respect the Lunatics are running the Asylum.

    • Posted April 26, 2015 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Ummm, far as I know we’re NOT in May.

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 26, 2015 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Now, now, why rain on his parade?

        • Posted April 27, 2015 at 12:27 am | Permalink

          I move that, although brother Mike can’t actually be in May, he has the “right” to be in May.

          • Diane G.
            Posted April 27, 2015 at 4:33 am | Permalink

            I, for one, respect his other way of knowing.

            • Mike
              Posted April 27, 2015 at 5:29 am | Permalink

              I put it down to my age ..lol

              • Diane G.
                Posted April 27, 2015 at 5:51 am | Permalink

                I hear ya. I never seem to know what day it is these days.

                And I fear the lunatics have been running the asylum for quite some time…

              • Posted April 27, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

                Running it? Hell, they built it!

                b&

  18. Barney
    Posted April 26, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    The EU’s wording seems very similar to the FAO’ s ‘Principles of Organic Production’:

    22. The use of veterinary medicinal products in organic farming shall comply with the following principles:

    a) where specific disease or health problems occur, or may occur, and no alternative permitted treatment or management practice exists, or, in cases required by law, vaccination of livestock, the use of parasiticides, or therapeutic use of veterinary drugs are permitted;
    b) phytotherapeutic (excluding antibiotics), homeopathic or ayurvedic products and trace elements shall be used in preference to chemical allopathic veterinary drugs or antibiotics, provided that their therapeutic effect is effective for the species of animal and the condition for which the treatment is intended;

    c) if the use of the above products is unlikely to be effective in combating illness or injury, chemical allopathic veterinary drugs or antibiotics may be used under the responsibility of a veterinarian; withholding periods should be the double of that required by legislation with, in any case, a minimum of 48 hours;

    d) the use of chemical allopathic veterinary drugs or antibiotics for preventative treatments is prohibited.

  19. Sarah
    Posted April 26, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I am not a scientist, but I have some training in history and a sense of chronology. I understand that homeopathy was a hypothesis devised around 1800. How likely is it that a “scientific” principle in medicine from those days is going to pass muster now? Some science may defy what we think of as common sense, and some old medical discoveries may still be valid, but the idea of diluting something to make it stronger is really too batty for words. Ditto the whole notion underlying homeopathy.

    • Posted April 26, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      That’s just because you believe in the allopathic paradigm. If you understood the importance of succussing water, then and only then will you understand.

      I only charge 200 euros an hour for cupping, ear candling and therapeutic touch-Reiki (yes I know that therapeutic touch- Reiki implies a contradiction, but that’s only because you are adhering to the Euro-centric, paternalistic, hegemonic view of the post-enlightenment).

      But wait – that’s not all! If you sign up your baby goats right now I will include a free iridology and phrenology consult, with an acupuncture, chiropractic, Ayurvedic preliminary exam to assess your Chakras.

      Act now, don’t miss this once in your current life-time chance (Not valid in past-lives, or reincarnated lives).

      • Posted April 26, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        The last fifteeen comments I have received have all been from you. Could you please slow down on the commenting?

  20. Todd Steinlage
    Posted April 26, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    A terrific homeopathic ER video from a few years ago youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0

  21. Posted April 26, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    fullfact.org has failed to find any evidence of such a directive.

    https://fullfact.org/factcheck/europe/eu_homeopathy_norwegian_vets-43773

  22. Posted April 26, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Don’t get complacent. The organic team in the US is trying to get animal vaccines removed from NOP approval.

    http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_31368.cfm

    They really are that insane. More chatter on that here: https://storify.com/mem_somerville/traditional-breeding-of-vaccines

  23. Posted April 29, 2015 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Honest Abe's Blog.


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