Homeopathy To Headline AVMA House Of Delegates Debate In 2013

Homeopathy talk in the air.

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The American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates will meet early next year to vote on issues ranging from livestock handling to homeopathy.

The House will vote on seven resolutions and one bylaw change when it convenes for its annual Winter Session on Jan. 5 in Chicago.

Among the policy changes to be considered is one that would repudiate the efficacy of veterinary homeopathy.

Submitted by the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association, the resolution calls for the AVMA to adopt a policy stating that homeopathy is an ineffective practice and that its use as veterinary therapy should be discouraged.

Proponents of homeopathy welcome introduction of the resolution.

“This is a wonderful chance for us to educate other vets about the benefits of homeopathic veterinary medicine,” said Jeff Feinman, VMD, CVH. “The main argument [against] homeopathy is that it’s implausible, and we will show that that’s not true at all. The research is just now catching up with the basic science.”

The Connecticut VMA board of directors, which crafted the resolution, argued that there is “strong, widely accepted scientific evidence that the theoretical foundations of homeopathy are inconsistent with established principles of chemistry, physics, biology and physiology” and that clinical trial evidence has shown homeopathic treatment to be ineffective.

The board acknowledged that homeopathy is not inherently dangerous, but said, “The use of ineffective therapy to the exclusion of established treatment may endanger patients.”

“One of the main reasons for doing this was to bring it to discussion,” said Chris Gargamelli, DVM, president of the Connecticut VMA. “The big impetus for [submitting this resolution] was to spark discussion among the House of Delegates on a national level so this issue can be given its just time and debate.”

Along with the resolution, the Connecticut VMA submitted a 32-page white paper titled “The Case Against Homeopathy,” which includes 72 citations.

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The House will also consider another policy regarding the use of livestock handling tools, especially electrical devices.

The policy states that mechanical aids to direct livestock movement should be used sparingly and not to strike animals. The proposed policy also places an emphasis on facility design and livestock handler education over the use of devices to direct livestock.

The AVMA executive board proposed the resolution after multiple AVMA members contacted the association’s Animal Welfare Division to inquire about the AVMA’s position on the use of livestock handling tools, the association reported.

Other resolutions to be considered include:

  • Revising the policy on recommended identification systems for companion animals to include small mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and equids
  • Eliminating the requirement for members of the House Advisory Committee to come from each of seven areas of professional activity, such as food animal, equine, government or academic
  • Adding an “oversight” section to the Veterinarian-Client-Patient relationship definition, in part to better align with the FDA’s call for more veterinarian oversight of medicated feeds.
  • Revising the policy on canine devocalization to emphasize that it should be used only as a last resort before euthanizing a dog.

The AVMA will also consider a bylaw change that would allow the association to post intended bylaw changes on its website. Currently, the bylaws require that the House post intended bylaw changes at least 30 days before the session in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The notices would still be published in the journal, but the 30-day period would commence at the time the change is announced on the website, rather than the journal’s publication date.

The AVMA encouraged members to contact their House of Delegates representatives to provide their input on the proposed resolutions and bylaws amendment. The full text of all the proposed resolutions and bylaws amendment can be found on the AVMA website.

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