Farm Homeopathy & HAWL
In UK only a vet or an owner may treat an animal. There are only about 250 homeopathically qualified vets and of these, fewer than a dozen are in farm practice. This leaves the farmer wishing to use homeopathy very unsupported, which is why the HAWL course is so important.
HAWL teaches farmers Classical Methodology. This means we look at ‘the beast not the bug’. HAWL teaches the use of single remedies and the reasons for their selection, which is by symptom rather than disease diagnosis. We urge the farmers to make their own decisions.
At its purest Classical Homeopathy uses remedies by indication and these are not sold with clinical claims of disease efficacy. However, some manufacurers of remedies do sell homeopathically prepared remedies with such claims and some have been substantiated by clinical trials, offering enough evidence to allow licensing. This is a rather complex and debated aspect, interesting but not part of the HAWL course.
HAWL is always keen to hear from farmers or farm vets and any work they have done. Simple applications like the effects of Aconite and Arnica are worth recording as it adds up to a big picture of independent but general use.
General information about homeopathy
Many websites offer information about homeopathy generally and research, including peer reviewed papers of trials and debates on possible mechanisms of action.
Some of the most reliable sources are
ECCH European Council for Classical Homeopathy.
Brian Kaplan offers background information and up to date discussion.
Ignoring the free offers and a great deal of other stuff, this site has some good background information on what we mean by Classical Homeopathy.
Dana Ullman is an American Homeopath who has written extensively about homeopathy
Serpentina Books carries the HAWL range of publications and has a wide variety of homeopathy books for farm and other animals. THEY PROVIDE 10% DISCOUNT FOR HAWL STUDENTS AND GRADUATES – email us for the code.
The production of homeopathic remedies is well regulated within the EU. Farmers may buy remedies from any supplier but these must be made by a registered pharmacy. Most of the UK homeopathic pharmacies have advisors but they are not by law permitted to prescribe for an animal.
JOHN BALE, FARM MANAGER WITH TWO DAIRY HERDS
“Its a MASSIVE help, so to me its a win win situation. I see the health of the herd being good from its use, my feeling is that if it didn’t work I wouldn’t be wasting my money on it. We don’t spend so much on vets bills. Its all part of the fight to keep a healthy herd. Mastitis is a good example, I hardly ever use antibiotics on mastitis. If we get 3 cases a months then I am doing badly, cell count is around 250. We have not used dry cow therapy in 20 years”.
Information about how much or in what way farmers use homoeopathy is very limited. EU regulation governs the preparation and use of homoeopathic remedies for production animals and farmers must buy remedies made by a registered pharmacy but may do so from any supplier.
In the UK few homoeopathic vets work on farms at all and those who do have little time to set up farm studies or trials or even collect and publish their own work. There are several classical homoeopaths who own their own farms and treat their own animals but there is little information about their experiences. Many farmers rely on the pharmacist to advise and supply remedies. One or two HAWL farmers are setting up their own studies and we shall add their work to this site when it is published.
Research is often done to prove that a specific remedy (or combination of remedies) is effective for a named condition. These trials may well be good science but they are often very poor homoeopathy as they are not employing the very basic principle of homoeopathy, ie that ‘like treats like’.
For any condition a homoeopath will select a remedy to match the symptoms and the effectiveness of the treatment will depend on the skill of the practitioner in finding the right one. If, in an acute case, the selected remedy does not work pretty quickly the homoeopath would look again at the case and change the remedy. To continue using the same remedy would be poor homoeopathy and very poor husbandry.
Much of the work published about farm homoeopathy is by practitioners rather than the farmer him or herself, and most is about disease prevention treatment. More useful to farmers is what they can do to avoid problems and to improve health status. Avoiding problems is not the same as preventing disease.
Prevention is done, homoeopathically, by using nosodes (see next column) against specific diseases, but avoidance is a very different approach and more positive, as it looks at boosting the general health of the animals. It is now well accepted that problems come at times of stress (weaning, transportation, separation etc), and giving animals remedies at these times may well avoid disease, but it may also improve production. HAWL farmers are taught how to observe their animals, to look for signs of stress to select remedies to help the animals cope with the stress. To date we have positive anecdotes but no studies recording improvements or comparisons. In Norway where vets are prevented from using homoeopathy, Hektoen looked at the use of homoeopathy on some dairy farms and found that farmers used it because it worked and because they appreciated being able to help their animals themselves
Many farmers first become acquainted with farm homoeopathy because they are offered nosodes as a preventative for specific problems. Their use goes back a couple of hundred years as does the debate about whether are really homoeopathy (like cures like) or actually being used homoeopathically (when the symptoms are seen) or even if they work at all.
This is a very big subject with a number of different threads.
A nosode is made from diseased tissue and used to prevent that disease so technically they are isopathy (exactly the same rather than “like”). Thus the farmer is offered “mastitis nosode” etc a diluted and succussed preparation of mastitic milk, so they are certainly not, technically, being used homoeopathically because they are used to prevent, ie before there is any symptom or sign of the problem.
Do they work? We need to take that question in stages. Do they work generally or do they work on the farm? For the first point, despite scepticism even within the homoeopathic community, some have been seen to work very well, most recently in Cuba where over 2 MILLION people were given the Leptospirosis nosode as a disease preventative with dramatic results.
Farmers report varying success; anecdotally there seems to be agreement about the effectiveness of nosodes for problems like Orf and New Forest Eye, and less for those for diseases of production like mastitis.
Unlike most farm homoeopathy, trials have been set up to look at the effect of mastitis nosodes, (most recently a large DEFRA study, never published so not peer reviewed) and the negative results (beginning with Egan) are often cited as proof that homoeopathy does not work at all.
Using nosodes means the farmer is still thinking about disease rather than health creation, and is still dependent on suppliers to produce the appropriate answer. The HAWL course is all about empowering decision making, including, of course, when to ask for other help and, when necessary, to call the vet (homoeopathic if possible).