Woo for Pets and the Campaign for Rational Veterinary Medicine | Vol. 3 / No. 27.1

Don’t treat sad cats with woo | Photo: Richard Ford Burley, CC BY-SA 2.0

This is a slightly different Monday post, part warning to pet owners, and part signal boost to an amazing organization I just learned about. Read on.


Yesterday, over in reddit’s r/skeptic community, user ImagineJesusPooping (look, it’s reddit, don’t judge) posted a personal story about falling for woo at the vet’s office. Long story short, they took their aging, arthritic dog to the vet, who first tried to sell them on acupuncture and then did sell them on something called “cold laser therapy,” which they discovered upon returning home to also be hocus pocus nonsense. This person was a trained veterinary professional, and unfortunately, this kind of thing isn’t that uncommon.

But there’s a bright side to this story. In the comments was something amazing. User hydeparc, a vet in the UK, both lamented the current state of things as well as pointing out the existence of a new organization meant to fight woo in the veterinary profession:

I strongly believe that our governing bodies (in the UK that is the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) should give strong guidelines as to the use of unproven (and often ‘proven not to work’) therapies. To this end, a few of us have formed the Campaign for Rational Veterinary Medicine, with the aim of getting the RCVS off the fence. We are starting with the ‘therapy’ with the most evidence against it, homeopathy. It is an uphill task. Acupuncture and laser therapy are definitely on the radar!

This is such great news. A quick google search later, I’ve taken a look at their website and want to give it a signal boost.

The Campaign For Rational Veterinary Medicine has been set up to argue the case that 21st century veterinary treatment should in all cases be based on rational, established scientific principles.

Their FMP (Frequently Made Points) section rebuts a number of concerns people have, like the slippery-slope argument that if vets let the government force them not to prescribe homeopathy, they’ll soon have to comply with even more regulations impinging on the freedom of their profession, or the supposed “harmlessness” of homeopathy.

If you’re at all interested in getting the woo out of veterinary medicine and planting both feet of the profession firmly in on the grounds of science, I’d strongly advice you to look them up (and if you’re in the field, to sign their petition!).

So a hat tip to the Campaign for Rational Veterinary Medicine — keep fighting the good fight!


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Richard Ford Burley is a human, writer, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.