29 March 2002

Homeopathy increases

THE use of homeopathic remedies in Germany has increased over the last two years, particularly on non-organic pig and dairy farms of less than 100ha (250 acres), although scant scientific evidence of efficacy is causing some concern.

According to a countrywide survey in 2000 by Leon, Andersson and Brummer reported in Agrifuture magazine, the majority of the 673 non-organic unit owners questioned had heard about homeopathy and 29% said they regularly used remedies.

When asked why they used homoepathic treatments, the main reason was economic, say the authors. "Treatments have no withdrawal period, they represent a residue-free/resistance-free therapy and over half of users, or their vets, had determined a healing effect on the treated animal."

Pigs were homeopathically treated most often for mastitis metritis agalactia syndrome (MMA), with fertility problems and digestion troubles coming next. "Unsurprisingly, more than 70% of all treatments applied to dairy cows were against mastitis," adds the report.

Of those not using homeopathy, 52% stated there was too little information and 25% highlighted concerns about a lack of scientific proof. The authors conclude: "If this medicine is to be used more widely farmers, manufacturers, vets, homeopaths and research facilities must repair this information deficit." &#42