January 14, 2013

AVMA Tables Homeopathy Decision Until Spring

According to Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, the American Veterinary Association (AVMA) has reserved its final decision on banning homeopathy until later this year.

The AVMA blog report suggests that there was substantial disapproval from both members and prospective members alike.
While the House of Delegates technically had procedural power to vote on the resolution today, it chose instead to refer the resolution to the Executive Committee with the advice that they in turn refer the matter to the AVMA Council on Veterinary Services.

“The wheels are already in motion to provide avenues for member and public comment on this,” the AVMA said. “Please be patient and give us some time to get the mechanism in place. I assure you that we will provide ample time for responses and we will announce the opportunity here, online and in our social media channels.”

The AVMA deserve a black eye on this one.

As pointed out in a Dec. 19 letter to House delegates by the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy — a group of 133 veterinarians not represented in the AVMA House of Delegates, the proposed resolution suffers severe credibility issues

First, the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association (VMA) resolution was entered without study, input or notice of member veterinarians.

Then the Connecticut VMA resolution was passed without consulting veterinarians who are expert practitioners in homeopathy.

Next the Connecticut VMA resolution summarily dismisses current - and well respected - AVMA Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. These guidelines were developed more than 10 years ago by a committee after much deliberation and discussion with input from experts in many fields, including representation by CAVM practitioners who would be directly affected by these guidelines, and with comment by AVMA members and the greater pet-owning community.  

Last and by no means least, the Connecticut VMA resolution was based on an anonymous white paper that was little more than an editorial - one man's opinion - without benefit of source material,  documentation or peer review of any kind. 

This is simply not the way the medical community works, be it for man or beast.

In a repudiation of the conclusions drawn by the anonymous white paper, Dr. Shelley Epstein, a veterinary homeopath in Wilmington, Del., and former Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (AVH) president, wrote that  “… all medicine involves balancing risks against benefits.” 

“In the case of homeopathy, the risks are negligible in the hands of trained veterinary homeopaths, and the benefits in some of even the most severe cases can be strong,” she stated.   

Dr. Jeff Feinman, a veterinary homeopath in Connecticut, agrees. He’s dismayed that he and other veterinary homeopaths in the state weren't consulted by the CVMA before the group drafted its resolution.

"On the surface, homeopathy would appear to represent an easy target for extinction, or at least for expulsion from the ranks of veterinary medicine. We have concerns that this would represent a slippery slope for the AVMA."  

Yes, and the decision by AVMA leaders to plunge downhill without ski poles on this issue is yet another unmitigated public relations disaster for the association and its members as well.

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