The BAHVS has carefully considered the Position Statement of the RCVS (of the 3rd November 2017) concerning CAMs and particularly the use of homeopathic treatments.
Having taken legal advice, including counsel’s opinion, we are of the firm view that the RCVS Position Statement has no legal standing or effect. Further, it does not in any way form part of the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct and Supporting Guidance. For the avoidance of doubt, the use of homeopathic treatments is enshrined in law, supported by EU regulation and the Veterinary Medicine Regulations.
This was confirmed during the Parliamentary debate on the 8th May 2018 when George Eustice MP, the Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) stated;
“As I said, the RCVS has sought to be very clear that it is not banning the use of homeopathy by vets; it is not even its place to do that……”
Further, the attempts by the RCVS to marginalise the use of homeopathy on the basis that it is potentially harmful to animals, has recently been rejected by Mr Eustice ,who during parliamentary questions on the 28th of March 2018, confirmed the department's official position:
“The Department does not have any evidence that shows that homeopathic vets are a risk to animal welfare by using homeopathy as an alternative treatment to conventional medicine options....”
Further, in relation to our individual clinical discretion as vets, on the 25th April 2018, Theresa May during “Prime Ministers Questions”, in response to a direct question as to whether vets should be permitted to use homeopathic treatments as a front line treatment responded:
“…….it is right that those who are professionally able to make these judgments are left to make them.”
It is therefore our clear and unequivocal position that the work of our members should continue as normal, as they are legally entitled to practise homeopathy as part of their practice. Clearly our members will continue to practise homeopathy in any way that, in the exercise of their clinical judgment, they believe to be in the best interests of their patients, including the right to use homeopathic treatments as a first line of treatment where appropriate in their clinical judgement.