Friday, 6 February 2009

Veterinary Voodoo Society gets a relaunch

Well, here's a bit of good news, the high priestess of Veterinary Voodoo has decided to give the organisation's web-site a bit of a wash and brush-up; as a fellow sceptoid said, "about bloody time!".  For those not already in the know, the satirical British Veterinary Voodoo Society (BVVS) came into existence some decades ago at a meeting where it was proposed that veterinary homeopaths should become a specialist division of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.  This definition carries considerable weight and would have given homeopaths special status alongside cardiologists, opthalmologists, orthopaedic surgeons and other people who practice real veterinary medicine at a more exalted level that us mere mortals.
Such a proposal was anathema to one of the more rational members of the meeting who, in a flash of inspiration, immediately proposed that Veterinary Voodoo should also be granted specialist status on the basis that this ancient, spiritual and traditional modality had exactly the same amount of good quality evidence supporting its use as homeopathy did (which is to say none whatsoever of course).  Thus the BVVS was born and the homeopathic menace vanquished (well, as a specialist division anyway).
It was given a firmer footing and its own website a few years ago as a consequence of a flurry of pro-homeopathy letters in the veterinary press at the time (the whole discussion is available on the BVVS site) but little has been added in the years since.  The BVVS had the distinction of being reported to the veterinary governing body in the UK, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) by well known homeopath John 'Jack' Hoare with the allegation that its views were "bringing the profession into disrepute".  An action was brought against BVVS office holders and the case was considered by the preliminary complaints committee of the RCVS.  The charges could have seriously affected the careers of those involved, there was even a risk of suspension of the right to practice should they have been upheld - such is the homeopaths' respect for free speech.  Fortunately for the embattled ranks of voodooists the complaint was dismissed and after a very minor change to a couple of links the web-site was re-opened.
John 'Jack' Hoare BVSc VetMFHom CertIAVH MRCVS is (amongst other things) the author of this children's guide to the homeopathic care of smaller pets.  In it he offers advice including the use of homeopathic aconite if your small furry is squashed in the door.  He goes on to describe homeopathy in easy to undertand ways which will appeal to children, using pithy soundbites such as, "Hahnemann, in Aphorism 3 of the Organon instructs us, when treating disease, to 'know the obstacles to cure and how to remove them, so that recovery is permanent'", and, "If bad food is suspected, the stools are foul-smelling and brown in colour", which are bound to appeal to the inquiring young mind.  Awww, sweet.