Vets and Conservative MEPs have raised concerns over a proposal to spend €2m on research into homeopathic medicines for farm animals.
Proposed funding for the pilot research project was approved yesterday in an amendment to the EU’s draft budget.
The amendment was approved by Socialists, Liberals and Christian Democrats on the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee.
But Richard Ashworth, Conservative MEP for the South East and spokesman on agriculture and rural affairs, branded the scheme outrageous and an insult to taxpayers.
“Spending such a huge sum of public money on something so marginal and left-field would be bad at the best of times.
“When we are in the middle of an economic crisis, when governments everywhere are taking severe austerity measures just to balance the books, to waste millions on highly questionable new-age remedies for cows and sheep is sheer madness.”
The British Veterinary Association also expressed concern at the plan.
Most vets are highly sceptical about the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies for livestock and earlier this year the BVA issued a warning against using them, the association’s president Harvey Locke said.
“Millions of Euros have already been spent on trying to prove the scientific efficacy of homeopathic medicines. To date we have not seen any data to prove they can be effective in the treatment of bacterial infections.
“The BVA cannot endorse the use of homeopathic medicines, or indeed any medicine making therapeutic claims, which have no proven efficacy.
As with any medicine, BVA believes that veterinary medicinal products must be evidence-based, with any medicinal claims made by a manufacturer supported,” he said.
“Whilst it is unlikely that €2m will be able to determine whether or not there is a basis for claiming homeopathic products can work, we welcome European investment in veterinary research and hope that the results of the pilot will be useful,” Mr Locke added.
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