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.