Delegates to consider resolution against homeopathy

Published on December 06, 2012
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Homeopathic pills

A resolution discouraging homeopathy is on the agenda for the Jan. 5 regular winter session of the AVMA House of Delegates.

The existing AVMA Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, currently under review by the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service, do not determine or describe the relative value of individual modalities.

Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine dating back two centuries. The theory is that certain diseases can be cured by giving very small doses of drugs that in a healthy person would produce symptoms like those of the disease.

The Connecticut VMA submitted a resolution for HOD consideration that would discourage homeopathy as ineffective.

The resolution is as follows:

Homeopathy Has Been Identified as an Ineffective Practice and Its Use Is Discouraged

RESOLVED, that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) affirms that—

  1. Safety and efficacy of veterinary therapies should be determined by scientific investigation.
  2. When sound and widely accepted scientific evidence demonstrates a given practice as ineffective or that it poses risks greater than its possible benefits, such ineffective or unsafe philosophies and therapies should be discarded.
  3. In keeping with AVMA policy on Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine, AVMA discourages the use of therapies identified as unsafe or ineffective, and encourages the use of the therapies based upon sound, accepted principles of science and veterinary medicine.
  4. Homeopathy has been conclusively demonstrated to be ineffective.

A background statement asserts, “Specific veterinary therapies may be identified by the AVMA as unsafe or ineffective based on a thorough evaluation of the available scientific evidence and a general agreement among scientists that the balance of the evidence demonstrates the practice to be ineffective or unsafe.”

The background goes on to state that the theoretical foundations of homeopathy are inconsistent with established scientific principles, clinical trials have shown homeopathy to be ineffective in treating or preventing disease, and the use of ineffective therapies to the exclusion of established treatment may endanger patients.

As an addendum, the Connecticut VMA also prepared a white paper on “The Case Against Homeopathy.”

Other proposals

As of press time, six other resolutions and a proposed bylaws amendment were on the HOD agenda.

The Wisconsin VMA submitted a resolution that would add the following line to the AVMA definition of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship: “The veterinarian provides oversight of treatment, compliance and outcome.”

The Maine, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and Vermont VMAs submitted a resolution that would designate all the members of the House Advisory Committee as at-large representatives, no longer representing professional categories.

The HAC proposed an AVMA Bylaws amendment that would require the AVMA website to carry a notice of intent to amend the bylaws at least 30 days before the pertinent HOD session. The current requirement is for the JAVMA to publish the notice 30 days beforehand, online or in print, requiring even more lead time because of the publication cycle.

The Executive Board referred one new and three revised AVMA policies to the HOD as resolutions for consideration:

  • Livestock Handling Tools” (new)
  • “Canine Devocalization”
  • “The Objectives and Key Elements Needed for Effective Electronic Identification of Companion Animals, Birds, and Equids”
  • “Pluripotent Stem Cells”

The resolutions and proposed AVMA Bylaws amendment are available at in the “House of Delegates” section.

AVMA members who want to weigh in with their delegates can find contact information here.