Evidence-based care? Not if there’s profit to be had.

Via SkeptVet, disappointingly burning stupid from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s revision of their Model Veterinary Practice Act:

The AVMA has long taken the position that it exists not to protect veterinary patients or consumers but the interests of veterinarians, narrowly defined in primarily economic and political terms. Rather than work towards sound scientific standards of care, the organization prefers to defend veterinarians’ right to profit from anything they can sell as veterinary medicine without competition from non-veterinarians. If unscientific therapies are in demand, the AVMA has no objections to veterinarians selling them.

And as a membership organization, the AVMA must also bow to the wishes of its constituencies. These include several groups of veterinarians, including the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, who promote alternative therapies regardless of the scientific evidence, and who are far better organized and funded than the Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Association and others promoting evidence-based medicine.

Given such policies, the AVMA position is not surprising. But it is disappointing and dangerous in that it gives the appearance of legitimacy to “philosophies and practices” which at best are insufficiently tested and at worst are based on pseudoscience and are clearly ineffective.

The “Western” language is particularly irritating in its inaccuracy, misdirection, and endorsement of ridiculous (and racist) views of all “Eastern” stuff as oooooo, maaagical (or, if marginally less woo: ‘proved by millennia’ – I’ll be over here being bilious whilst throwing salt over my left shoulder to invite the faeries to make me more sanguine, since Humours and Scottish superstitions are an ancient and pretty continuous part of my Western tradition, and therefore clearly ‘proven’ as reasonable and appropriate responses to life and death matters).


You can read the whole thing here.

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Here are some related posts from the past dealing with evidence-based vet care vs. pseudoscience – these also link back to SkeptVet’s great blog, because it’s one you should be reading if you’re not.

As I said in the post “Human woo increasingly inflicted on animals in place of science-based medicine” –

Adult humans can make at least somewhat informed decisions about their own medical care, and some, sometimes, can also benefit from (limited) placebo effect.There’s been a bunch of new research on the placebo effect recently: a usefully to-the-point post about it is here.

But animals cannot make these choices or even reap the minimal benefits of placebo effect, since in order for it to help, one has to know something about the pointless treatment and invest it with belief – which then reduces stress and sometimes causes some improvement based in that belief.

Animals probably do get some variable health benefits as a result of people being nice to them, just as we sometimes do – but that doesn’t replace our responsibility to also do something concretely, consistently useful and responsible when they are sick or hurt. Pan pipes and incense, so to speak (or thoroughly debunked practices like homeopathy) aren’t going to cut it. And while humans have the right to choose these things for themselves, to withhold proven and available medical care from animals who cannot speak or make informed choices for themselves is unethical.

If I want to stick some hot rose quartz on my chakras while inserting needles into my feet and drinking water someone said once had an herb waved over it instead of going to the doctor when I find a lump in my breast or start puking blood, it’s my right to hurt myself.

It’s not my right to withhold appropriate medical care from animals for whom I’m responsible.

Is there going to have to be an Occupy AVMA movement to counter the CAM lobbyists/merchandisers? Who’s bringing the pooper scoopers?


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