diary, news and views, from a personal and veterinary point of view - alternative medicine, holistic, holistic vet, homeopathic vet, homeopathy, acupuncture, current affairs, family news
* * * NEWS & VIEWS WITH AN 'ALTERNATIVE' SLANT * * * e-mail: cd@alternativevet.org * * * * * website: www.alternativevet.org * *
I have been suffering with 'flu so have been slow off the mark here. Please join the campaign to stop the proposed megadairy farms in Lincolnshire. It is a travesty of welfare and decency. It is a health risk, to animals and humans. It is an environmental and ecology risk, from pollution by excreta, urine and run-off, affecting waterways, aquifers and ground water. It is diametrically opposing what Britain should be doing, in an 'enlightened age', which is to move to more sustainable and animal-friendly farming.

This is the wholly unacceptable face of factory farming, which has hitherto in the UK only been inflicted on chickens, ducks, turkeys and pigs. We are phasing out battery chickens - so how can we allow this to happen?

Massive dairy farms will impact on cow health and welfare, not least through leg damage, udder damage and stress.

Petition has to be handed in on 11th January

Sign up here (before MONDAY!):


Best wishes to all who join this campaign.

Why not visit www.alternativevet.org, while you're here?
View Article  Amazing portraits
It has been my good fortune to come across a young lady (Elizabeth Hamilton-Ross) with a formidable talent for drawing animals. I am the joyful owner of a picture of our dog 'Winner', which I proudly place here for the reader's delectation (see 'attachments'). The likeness to and the embodied 'spirit' of the dog are amazing.

In this case, Lizzi took the photograph herself and worked from it. I believe she can also work from clients' photographs. Clearly, the better the 'life' in the photograph, the better the life in the final product. Winner is now 9 year-old but acts like a puppy, as can be seen from the excitement and animation in her face.

A link to Lizzi's website is:


I had to post this blog out of sheer joy at having received such a special gift commissioned by a close relative for Christmas.

Visit www.alternativevet.org
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View Article  Manufactured food disaster in the making - again! - DIOXINS
Here we go again. The potential for harm on a massive scale is always there, in the food manufactiuring business. The scale of production, the rapid and far-reaching distribution process and the fact that a faulty or contaminated ingredient is included into a vast and unfathomable multiplicity of products all put consumers at constant risk.

This time, it may be manufactured pastry, cake, mayonnaise or other egg-containing foods that are involved.

Link 1
Link2 (with video - just look at the way the poor chickens are kept!)
Link 3

The problem arose on factory farms in Germnay (mostly Lower Saxony) where up to 3,000 tonnes of animal feed contaminated with dioxins (carcinogenic and persistent) was fed to pigs and chickens on circa 1,000 farms. Apparently, more than 100,000 contaminated eggs reached the market. So far, we are told, a consignment of 14 tonnes of pasteurised liquid egg (yuk!) has reached Britain. However, our good old FSA (Food Standards Agency) has stated that the contaminated eggs were mixed with other eggs in Holland, thus diluting the risk. With Dioxins, I would not be so comfortable. They are concentrated in a breast-feeding mother's milk, as just one of their dirty tricks.

Of course, if they were to admit the scale of the disaster, who knows how many millions of manufactured packaged foods will have to be recalled and destroyed? Who knows whether it is even possible ot trace it all.

It still appears that we are guided by the mantra "The solution to pollution is dilution"! Add this head-in-the-sand approach to the fact that the consignment may have entered the UK as long ago as 12th December and the scale of the nightmare can be envisaged. Much of this stuff may already have been processed into cakes and other food products and consumed by unsuspecting shoppers.

For how long has officialdom, whether in Germany or in the UK, known about this?

It appears to be confirmed again and again that we should only eat organic, not buy processed foods or ready meals and grow our own food as much as possible. If we trust the greed of commerce, this type of disaster is what we can expect over and over again.

Cynical, careless or negligent makes little difference to the consumer. In my opinion, the risk potential of this type of farming, food processing, distribution and manufacture is too great for the current system to be permitted to continue. However, it keeps the wheels of commerce turning . . .

Fancy a quiche?

Visit www.alternativevet.org
View Article  Injured wild deer treated and released - video
On 27th December, we were delighted to be able to release an injured wild deer that we had treated over Christmas. We have posted a video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK-aM49keFo on YouTube. We have also posted (or are about to post) an item and photo at http://www.alternativevet.org/wild_animals.htm.

Happy new Year to all readers!

View Article  Christmas 2010
Has anyone noticed it's been snowing?

We've been very pre-occupied, carrying water and food to hungry animals and trying to keep the house warm with heating system playing up.

Wishing everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a joyous, healthy, fulfilling 2011!
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View Article  New videos on YouTube
We have posted a pair of very short videos on YouTube, one showing a way of giving homeopathic pills to a dog and one showing the similar process in a horse.

DOGS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmINHAnXqRY

HORSES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2nHzYeR5mg&NR=1

Of course, there are other methods but both videos show that animals enjoy the process, so long as the approach is a positive one.

Why not visit: http://www.alternativevet.org - our main website offering over 600 pages of information on alternative and holistic medicine?

View Article  Indian Summer thrills

Whether it was the balmy days during September or the chill-bright mornings of October, what an end to the Summer we've been privileged to enjoy. Even those sharp frosts were so picturesque and evocative, despite the fact that they brought so many lovely summer crops to an abrupt end.

I shall be warmed through winter by the memory of those golden dawns, the misty hollows, the pink sunsets.

Driving in Dorset early on the 24th, I came across this peaceful pastoral scene, which forced me to stop the car and breathe in the atmosphere.

BTW - did you remember to turn your clocks back this morning?

Our website http://www.alternativevet.org


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View Article  Natural Dog Care and Natural Cat Care - NEW BOOKS


Hamlyn have just published the two latest books 'off the pen'. They are entitled Natural Dog Care and Natural Cat Care. In these books I have attempted to provide sufficient help to those who wish to rear and keep their dogs or cats in a more natural way.

I may never write another book 'to order', since the format is very confining and restricting, with a huge premium on word numbers. I now know what writer's block is all about!

I hope they're of value to readers, nonetheless. It looks like Hamlyn has made a great job of the publishing.

Our main site is at: http://www.alternativevet.org


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View Article  Celebrating the Red Squirrel

Red Squirrels are rare in Britain now but not so difficult to find on mainland Europe. We saw one in Vienna, photographed by my daughter, in 2010 and a rare UK sighting on the Isle of Wight 2009, photographed by me.

This post has no purpose other than to celebrate these charming creatures.

In contrast, there is a photograph of a Grey Squirrel in the UK (also photographed by my daughter). These creatures, although charming and attractive in their own way, are commonplace in the UK and have been responsible for the near-disappearance of the Red Squirrel from Britain.

We should remember to give all creatures our respect but it is impossible for me not to have a special soft spot for the cheeky red squirrel.

Our main website is at: http://www.alternativevet.org
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View Article  Horse Drawn Carriages in Tourist Cities

Romantic Tradition or Horse Abuse?

In many cities around the World, not least in European tourist centres, a ride in a horse carriage is offered as a relaxed, time-honoured and romantic way to see a city. On the face of it, while being an acknowledged tourist trap, this may not seem to be a bad thing. The horses are usually well turned out and appear well looked after.

These attractive carriages are on offer in Rome, Madrid, Seville, Cadiz, Cordoba, Florence, Pisa, Siena, Vienna, Salzburg, Brugge, Antwerp, Aran Islands, Dublin, Killarney, Prague, Amiens and many other centres. Horse drawn vehicles and 'gypsy' caravans are also available for hire by tourists, for holiday use in some tourist areas.

As a family we have toured many such cities and locations (see attached images) in Europe and often remarked on the shoeing in particular. The feet of some of these horses are a disgrace. These horses have to work on metalled or cobbled surfaces and good shoeing is a first requirement. In some cases, the horses frankly do not appear to be in good condition and in a significant number, they are being asked to work with the painful handicap of pelvic misalignment. It is a source of some relief and pleasure when we see horses that have been really well tended.

Recently, in Rome in particular, attention has been drawn to their working schedules, the risks of traffic accidents and the fact that horses are often sold into a callous meat trade when 'retired', rather than being retired to pasture. http://banhorsedrawncarraigesrome.blogspot.com/

As a result of lobbying, Rome has banned the carriages on weekdays.

If you take a ride on one of these carriages, you are funding the enterprise. Your money counts. If you have concerns about the welfare implications, don't take the ride!

As to the call to ban such practices, why pick on this activity as particularly heinous? Horses the World over are being exploited with greater or lesser concern for their welfare. Even in our own country, horse welfare is far from ideal. Proper and meaningful regulation, inspection and accountability may be a way forward for improved welfare where horses are used for 'business'.

Visit our main website at: http:www.alternativevet.org
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View Article  Harvest Home

Harvest time is with us again and Autumn chills are biting. We had a frost this morning, so we can expect a good showing from the leaves before they fall.

We garden according to biodynamic and organic principles and we have been very pleased with the results to date. We were on holiday until 3rd October so imagine our surprise when we came home to this feller (see attached images). It received no special attention during growth and development.

Of course, it could just have been a small wheelbarrow but our wet dog had to stand guard in case someone envied the fruits of our labours! She offers a size reference.

Do we eat it or set it up for Halloween or both?

Our main site is:

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View Article  Season's Greetings

We, at the AVMC, wish all visitors to this blog a very peaceful, restful and loving Christmas time and a very healthy and fulfilling 2010. We also wish this for the animals that share your homes.

Let us also all remember that we are in a land of plenty and prosperity and there are places in the World (and even here in our home country), where that prosperity, comfort and safety has proved elusive.

If we all wish peace, sufficiency and safety for the World-at-Large, may be some of that positive energy will filter through to those less fortunate than ourselves.

View Article  Guy Fawkes - Bonfire Night

November 5th is a source of abject terror for many animals, especially our dogs but also cats, horses, ponies and wildlife.

Please do what you can to shield your animals, don't let off fireworks close to the house and turn up the radio or television.

In extreme cases, some natural medicines may help. Otherwise, you may need the help of your local vet.

Homeopathy: Aconite 200c, Borax 30c, Natrum carb. 30c, Natrum mur. 30c Nit. ac 30c, Phosphorus 30c, Rhododendron 30c & Theridion 30c are remedies that may help.

Bach Flowers: Rescue Remedy and Herbal Skullcap/Valerian may also help.

Aromatherapy: Lavender oil is also relaxing and may ease the worst anxieties.

Bonfire building should be left until the last minute, to prevent colonisation by toads, voles, hedgehogs etc.

Whatever your political persuasion, it may bring a wry smile to think what Guy Fawkes may make of the Treaty of Lisbon and its effect on the power of the Westminster Parliament. What amazing timing for the last obstacle to have been removed.

Our main site is: http://www.alternativevet.org

View Article  Blog silence

Apologies to any regular visitors for the blog silence for the last month - health issues - hope to resume normal service very soon.

Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org while you're here?

View Article  Palestine, Gaza, Israel


As our thoughts go out to all those caught up in the recent horrors of war, two quotes come to mind:

Shakespeare - Henry V:

"Now thrive the armourers . . . . "

[These are the ones who truly profit from war.]

Bertrand Russell:

"War does not determine who is right, only who is left."

We can only pray for peace to fall on that torn region, for the suffering, grief and pain to end and for the destruction, devastation and pollution to cease.

View Article  Formation Sleeping again . . . .


You may remember my little piece about our cats, secretly rehearsing their 'Formation Sleeping' routine for the 2012 London Olympics.


Well, this new olympic sport is apparently catching on and spreading fast. During the closing days of 2008, our dogs have taken up this tricky discipline and are practising determinedly.

Who knows where this new craze will crop up next or where it will end? Let's hope, anyway, that the self-appointed UK team will have perfected the routine in time for the Games.

Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Christmas Greetings & New Year Wish

Christmas Greetings to all visitors and readers. I hope you have an enjoyable and healthy festive season and I wish you health, and fulfilment for 2009 and, most of all, happy and healthy animals!

Towards the end of this year, we have run into bandwidth problems, meaning that the blog has 'gone down' for the last few days of each month, owing to a high visitor rate. While I apologise to any who encountered a blank page at any time, I am heartened that we have significant visitor traffic. I have now upgraded the bandwidth to cope with the increased demand and I hope you will not 'draw a blank' again.

Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Choke a Turkey - a sick example of implied animal abuse

[This is NOT an advertisement!]

Choke-a-Duck & Choke-a-Turkey

Our local garden centre has a Christmas toy department, in which these two products held pride of place, when I visited today. In my opinion, they are, at best, tasteless and are likely to encourage disrespect for animals, which is part of the desensitising process that can lead to real-life animal abuse . . .

. . . and even child cruelty or adult abuse - the link between animal abuse and violence within the family is well-established - ref.:




Even the language used on the packaging is graphic, violent and abusive.

"Grab and lift him by the neck while dancing - he will scream and cluck like mad, flapping his wings as he is gagging and choking!"

Of course, when a bird's neck is wrung, as will be the fate of a massive number of birds this Christmas, killed for those who eat meat, it will kick and scream and flap.

We have asked for these 'toys' to be taken off display. We shall see.

However, they are available worldwide, imported to the UK by:

Premier House
Braintree Road
Middlesex HA4 0EJ
United Kingdom

Telephone: 020-8624 5555
Fax: 020-8624 5678
E-mail: sales@premierdec.com

This company is a wholesaler, dealing only with retailers' orders of £2,000 or over.

The toys are also marketed as corporate stress-relieving gimmicks (executive toys), via many websites. Representative sites, picked at random off Google, are:



There is even a demonstration video, in case our imagination is non-functional! :


These are novelty 'toys', marketed at a time when novelties usually sell well. My belief is that these items should not be marketed at all, for all the reasons mentioned in my first paragraph. My young daughter was horrified when she saw them - I hope others will be too.


I encourage folk to ask retailers to remove them from display or to write to wholesalers and retailers. I shall e-mail Premier Decorations Ltd. I have notified PETA, VIVA and the NSPCC.

No-one likes a joke toy more than me (I'm a real sucker for them) but, when animal respect is at stake and a toy could lead to desensitisation of our children and to potential animal abuse, I have to lose my sense of humour.

Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  The Millennium Wobble


Now, nearly nine years on, we have the answer to the wobbling of the Millennium Bridge!

We've had the wrong sort of leaves and the wrong kind of snow. Now we have the wrong sort of pedestrians, doing the wrong kind of walk!

" . . . . . But it was shut for safety reasons after only three days because of the persistent 'wobble'.

Engineers originally blamed the effect of hundreds of people stepping on to the bridge in unison for the problem.

But new research has shown that it was the combination of a large number of people and the random way in which they walked which kept the bridge moving with such large wobbles.

Dr John MacDonald, from Bristol University, who led the research, said that they had proved that the problem was caused by "the presence of lateral bridge motion without changing the pedestrian walking frequency and applying the same foot placement strategy to maintain balance".



Understand all that gobbledegook (thank heavens for academics) if you will but forgive me for asking - isn't a footbridge supposed to be walked on? What a good job we've now performed all that expensive research.

Is it me? Surely the bridge had to wobble in order to make people try to keep their balance in the first place?

The bridge (the first new crossing in Central London for more than a century) re-opened after the further expenditure of about £5,000,000. You'll see now why, when I wanted a footbridge in my garden, to span our new pond feature, I didn't consult this particular firm of bridge designers! What a good job that we once knew how to build bridges, over 100 years ago.

You may be comforted to learn that we managed with a few wooden rails and a few coach screws and nails.

Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Zzzzzzzz


Our sleepy cats - do not disturb!

Could 'Formation Sleeping' be the next new Olympic Games Sport for London in 2012?

Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  RSPCA avoid legal consequences?


The RSPCA has managed a 'sort of apology', to the Hindu community, over the killing of Gangotri (a Jersey x Belgian Blue cow) at Bhaktivedanta Manor and Temple. They are clearly trying to evade legal action, that has been in process, since that drastic event.


I wonder if this will now be an end to the matter.

It would probably be foolish to expect such an organisation to apologise fully and unreservedly.

This story appeared in March 2008:


It is alleged that the cow was under proper veterinary care and that she was recovering. The vets working with the RSPCA killed the cow without having discussed the case with the attending vets.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Elephants in Captivity


Young elephant at Whipsnade, displaying stereotypic behaviour

We suddenly, today, have media coverage of an issue that is of central importance to the welfare of zoo animals (NOT just elephants!).


Caged Tiger at Whipsnade - well you can't have them running around, can you?


Of course, wild conditions cannot be replicated in zoos and animals will know (and feel/suffer) the difference, especially those species that range over vast areas.



This is not new! It has been aired for years.

e.g.: http://www.alternativevet.org/zoo.htm



Nonetheless, while wild places exist for animals to live and breed successfully, it's never too late to try to do something about it. Think very carefully how you stand on this issue, before funding zoos with your hard-earned cash.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Crufts not on BBC for 2009


So, the BBC will not be televising Crufts next year. This is a result of the failure of the BBC and the Kennel Club to agree on certain issues. Oh well.

As I said in an earlier blog on this 'crisis', gunboat diplomacy is not the way forward.

Why the BBC became suddenly so vehement, when the issues raised have been there for all to see, for so many years, I cannot imagine. Why did the BBC not complain about these issues before? Having not done so, why not adopt a more progressive method of policy influence, that would bring better results? Rome was not built in a day.

As Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970) said, so pithily - 'War does not determine who is right, only who is left'.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Cattle in N Ireland have been fed contaminated feed


Now it has been announced that cattle in Northern Ireland (and possibly in Ireland, too) have been fed feed from the contaminated mix. We are assured all is well for beef supplies. Dairy products are not mentioned, so I hope that milk and milk products (butter, cheese, milk, processed foods) are not contaminated. When nothing is said, however, it leaves the imagination to run riot.


If the mix really was of bakery waste and confectionery waste, might it mean that cattle (strictly herbivores) have been fed animal fats and possibly gelatine, from the recycled human food waste? Yuk! I thought that practice was finished, with the BSE disaster.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]


View Article  Winter's Icy Grip


It's cold but the healthy frosts and sunny days are very welcome. Recent winters have seen too few such days.


First light and the cold air greets

Pink sun at horizon peeps

On glass, the fern-like fronds do glint

The icy fingers of Winter.


[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Gelatin in our daily lives


Gelatin comes from horses, cattle and pigs, by rendering of skin, connective tissue and bone. It is used in the food industry (~70,000 tonnes per annum in Europe), as an emulsifier, texturiser and gelling agent and in the pharmaceutical industry (~20,000 tonnes per annum in Europe). It is also used in cosmetics and for micro-encapsulation of synthetic vitamins. You may also be surprised to discover that it is in MMR and Influenza vaccines. It is a component of some plasma expanders, given to patients to raise blood volume in medical treatment.

What this means to the consumer is that 'ordinary' foods, such as bakery products, low-fat spreads, desserts, jams, conserves, confectionery (e.g. sweets and bars) etc. may well contain gelatin, with obvious implications for vegetarians and vegans, religious communities and potentially for health. Sometimes, because of this subtle and occult manufacturing process, staff in a restaurant, for instance, won't even know whether it is in certain meals or menu items. Vaccination and some medical treatments can have similar implications.

The current Irish embarrassment, over the pig food contamination with dioxin/PCBs, may have health implications for consumers of manufactured foods, bakery products, confectionery, ice creams and artificial vitamins, along with recipients of vaccination, plasma expanders and some other medical treatments. With such high usage of gelatin, in various industries, the 'risk list' doesn't stop there. It is not necessary to eat pork, bacon, ham or sausages, to end up with products of pig carcases in your mouth.

Of course, when we learn that the Irish contamination happened in a plant processing bakery waste and confectionery waste for pig food, we realise that pigs are being fed pig gelatin, via this circuitous route. Gelatin probably also ends up in many proprietary animal feeds, in manufactured vitamin supplements, including horse, sheep, cattle and pig foods but it is nearly impossible to find out for certain. For strictly herbivorous species, such as horses, sheep and cattle, this is clearly very unwise and unattractive. For pigs also, cannibalism is not only unattractive, it is potentially unhealthy. After the BSE fiasco, one might have hoped that forced cannibalism in food animals would have ceased.

Manufacturing and labelling are still far from open transparency and clarity. As is so often the case in life, despite the so-called 'nanny state', buyer beware - caveat emptor!

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Gender Bender Chemicals - Not News


It's not new news (this issue has been recognised for a long time) but nonetheless needs trumpeting. If we wish to go on enjoying this planet of ours, it's really well past the time that we should take proper stock. Here's just one aspect of the damaging effects of our ridiculous, commercially-biased society:


"Wildlife and people have been exposed to more than 100,000 new chemicals in recent years, and the European Commission has admitted that 99 per cent of them are not adequately regulated. There is not even proper safety information on 85 per cent of them.

Many have been identified as 'endocrine disrupters' – or gender-benders – because they interfere with hormones. These include phthalates, used in food wrapping, cosmetics and baby powders among other applications; flame retardants in furniture and electrical goods; PCBs, a now banned group of substances still widespread in food and the environment; and many pesticides."

Research demonstrates beyond doubt that the male gender is under threat in many species.

"Research at the University of Florida earlier this year found that 40 per cent of the male cane toads – a species so indestructible that it has become a plague in Australia – had become hermaphrodites in a heavily farmed part of the state, with another 20 per cent undergoing lesser feminisation. A similar link between farming and sex changes in northern leopard frogs has been revealed by Canadian research, adding to suspicions that pesticides may be to blame."


"Gywnne Lyons, a former Government advisor on chemical pollution and author of the report, said: "Urgent action is needed to control gender bending chemicals and more resources are needed for monitoring wildlife. If wildlife populations crash, it will be too late. Unless enough males contribute to the next generation there is a real threat to animal populations in the long term," she added.

The paper lists the affected species and include, flounder in UK estuaries, cod in the North Sea, cane toads in Florida, peregrine falcons in Spain, and turtles from the Great Lakes in North America.

Some male roaches have changed sex completely after exposure to oestrogen from the Contraceptive pill pouring out of sewage works.

We could either look at this as a great way for the world to be rid of us, the dreaded human species, or we could start changing the way we live, the way we buy, the way we eat and the way we vote.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Dioxins and Pig Meat


This is a theme on which I have written before. Industrial scale animal feed manufacture, factory farming methods and human food manufacture, processing and distribution will result in calamities on a massive scale. Trade and transport shift foodstuffs thousands of miles almost instantly.

It has happened again, this time to the Irish pig industry.


"European supermarkets have been ordered to clear their shelves of Irish bacon, ham and sausages.

It happened after authorities discovered that Irish pork products had been tainted with a potentially cancer-causing chemical."

"Ireland's Food Safety Authority said the dioxin made its way into the food chain after pig feed from a producer was tainted with industrial oil.

While only 10 per cent of the country's pig meat was affected, that was processed and mixed in with other meat, resulting in widespread contamination."

"Health officials across the continent are warning their consumers not to eat Irish pork after the discovery that dioxins had been in some of the pigs' feed for months."


"The Food Safety Authority and the Department of Agriculture and Food during routine surveillance identified a pig with residue of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in excess of the permissible levels. The sample was taken on November 19th and the result was reported on November 28th. This triggered an investigation on the farm at which the pig had originated. Initially, it was thought something untoward must have occurred on this farm."

It would appear that testing methodology has allowed this to go unnoticed for more than two months and that action has taken more than a week, which means that many who consume pig products will already have taken on board some of the toxin. The 'recall' cannot recall what has already been eaten and readers may be surprised to know just how widely pig products are used in the food processing industry. Recalling bacon, ham and sausages may well be insufficient to prevent human contamination. Many manufactured food products may be tainted and may not be recalled.

"Irish pig meat and pig fat is exported to the EU and farther afield. One food processor in Belgium, which provides pig fat to the manufacturing industry, noticed an increase in PCBs in composite samples containing pig fat from several member states since September, and was trying to identify from which country the contaminated fat was coming."

With modern transport and industrial methods, the pigs' food chain can become rapidly and widely infiltrated by contamination and, likewise, so can ours. Furthermore, this case illustrates how slowly the problem can be identified and tracked. Local food, small scale and organic farming point the way to go. The supermarket culture is as dangerous as it is seductive.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Congratulations in UK & Ireland


Congratulations to Michael Clancy in Ireland and Hazel Cooper in England, on their successful VetMFHom examinations. It is no mean undertaking and is a very rigorous examination. I wish them well in their careers and their personal development.

This sitting ends a very busy year for the Faculty of Homeopathy's post-graduate veterinary homeopathy examination, which has been held in South Africa, Australia and the UK.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  National Vaccination Month (NVM)


So, the great commercial jamboree is going to take place again, in 2009 (March 2009). You bet! It brought in an additional 32,000 (and more) cats, dogs and rabbits onto the vaccination books. What's that worth? I don't buy vaccines now, so I don't know what money that will generate but, rest assured, it's a nice bundle. Hence you can expect massive national Waiting Room, TV, Newspaper and Internet coverage.


This year, horses will also be included.


Before taking the bait that's offered (a primary course for the price of a booster), be sure to inform yourself about both sides of the debate. The possible negative effect (side effects, adverse effects) of vaccination is information that is hard to find. The benefits will be trumpeted far and wide but the downside will most likely not be mentioned.

Knowledge and understanding enables you to make an informed decision. When you consent to vaccination for your animal, you sign up to both the good and the bad, the benefit and the harm.

While no observable ill-effect is the result of vaccination in many, for a significant number there may be problems. In extreme cases, an animal can die. In many cases, the shock to the immune system is not easily countered. A great many immune-related diseases start within three months of vaccination. In dogs, such diseases include allergy, colitis, atopy, epilepsy and auto-immune disease. In horses, such diseases as COPD, long-term malaise, skin disease etc. may arise soon after vaccination. Vaccines may contain mercury, phenol, formaldehyde and other poisonous substances, for which there is no safe dose. Vaccines may be manufactured using cancer DNA. Vaccines may contain animal tissues, carrying a possible threat of auto-immunity. There is no science to support annual boosting. These facts are not widely publicised.

There is an alternative, which is, as yet, unproven. Since no massive profits will result from research, funding for research is not forthcoming. I have offered DEFRA, at my expense, research into its efficacy in Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Blue Tongue and Avian Influenza. I have been turned down.

That alternative is the 'nosode' method (homeoprophylaxis) which is used for countless pets around the UK, without any obvious penalty. My own animals (cats, dogs and horses) are only given this method, never having received vaccination. Their lifestyles make them high-risk animals and we have even had cases of parvovirus, distemper, FeLV, Cat flu, FIP, FIV etc. on the premises, without any problem for my dogs or cats. Our horses were totally unaffected by a 'virus' that swept through a yard where they were staying, one winter. All the other horses were badly affected.

It is not my job to tell anyone whether or not they should vaccinate their animals. My job as a vet is to raise awareness and to help folk to inform themselves of all sides of the issue, so that they can base decisions on proper consideration.







"When men differ, both sides ought equally be heard by the public, for when truth and error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter"
Benjamin Franklin (1705 - 1790)

Why not visit www.alternativevet.org, while you're here?


View Article  Financial Solution?


Do I have this right, now?


The current financial mess is the result of us over-spending and over-borrowing.

The solution is: spend more and borrow more.


[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Downs Syndrome vigilance


We are now told that more babies are being born with Downs syndrome, than was the case before pre-natal screening was available. We have to commend parents on their care and devotion, wish affected families all the very best and offer all the support we can.

The reason for the increase, articles seem to suggest, is that prejudices in society are reducing and willingness, on parents' part, to raise affected children, is increasing.




I don't know what I'm missing here (human medicine is not my field, although of course, as a human, I have a deep interest in it) but I would have thought that parental willingness could hardly be a factor if, before pre-natal screening, parents didn't know ahead of the birth that the baby would be affected.

My anxiety is that there may be factors in society and our environment that could be giving rise to this increase and which may not be being researched or investigated. Of course, the trend towards older mums may be a factor but it is folly not to look into the possibility of routine factors, such as diet, agrochemicals, vaccination, drugs, alcohol, smoking etc. (the latter two are unlikely, as they were very prevalent in the years before pre-natal screeningwas avaiable). This is a hereditary problem and we should always be on the lookout for factors that could affect the health and welfare of future generations, especially if negative factors could be avoidable. The reward for vigilance could be that fewer have to suffer the effects of hereditary problems.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Sparrow Decline (and a lot else besides)


Everyone must have noticed the decline in the House Sparrow, over the last decade or two. They used to be considered a pest, by some, in view of their numbers and their habit of eating off cabbage plants etc. Our stone roof used to be full of them. We had no chance of a sleep-in, in the Summer mornings, with all their chattering and squabbling. Now we're down to a few pairs only (the numbers fluctuate each year). One year, we think we had none, but they thankfully came back.

Modern gardening habits have been blamed, along with the march of Leylandii hedges, paving, tarmac, concrete and decking.


Of course, these modern trends are no help to the environment and ecology. I'm no lover of decking and Leylandii. However, we personally have control of twelve acres (five or so hectares), we garden extremely lazily and we have at least 1.5 acres of conservation area, that pretty much runs wild. We leave some fallen trees, to act as habitat. We have thistles and nettles. We have burdock, teasels (the goldfinches love these), vetches, rattles, comfrey, dog rose, hawthorn, ivy galore, pyracantha and a good variety of native trees and berries. We have a massive biodiversity of plants and herbage. We have a rambling herb garden and last year's growth is left until Spring. We feed the birds consistently, with organic wild bird seed. We leave all dying garden growth until the Spring, rather than tidying up in the Autumn. We have ample water access for wild birds. We use no chemicals (and have no decking!). Nonetheless, we do not appear to have a haven for sparrows, as one might be entitled to expect.

Has anyone else noticed that car windscreens rarely need a good clean in the summer, nowadays? It used to be that, day or night, the windscreen would be a right mess after just 50 miles on the road. A car journey was a noisy affair at night, with clouds of moths meeting their end. Now, I don't have to clean my windscreen daily, despite my huge mileage. This means to me that there is a general, drastic and widespread decline in insects, not just a paucity of insect habitat in gardens. My suggestion is that maybe the widespread and prodigious use of agrochemicals (pesticides, herbicides, insecticides) could be to blame. I can't believe that GM (genetically modified) foods are completely blameless, either. Might those factors not also contribute to the modern decline of the bee (without whom we'd be really sunk)? Our grassland used to be full of Daddy Longlegs (Leatherjackets) in the Autumn. Not any more. We see a few each year. Our premises was patrolled by several bats and they used to come into the house. Now we rarely see one. The Vale of White Horse used to have flocks and flocks of Lapwings (or Peewits) that feed on leatherjackets in the winter. They would rise off the grassland in darkening clouds and made a wonderful sight, with their unique flight behaviour. Now we're lucky to see two or three about. Their fading is one of the biggest disappointments of my life. Insectivorous creatures appear to be fading everywhere, in arable regions.

I don't eat sparrows, bats or peewits (in fact, I'm vegetarian anyway) but all these chemicals in our food chain cannot be good for any of us, whatever the authorities and companies tell us. It's not just the sparrows. Their food chain is our food chain. Thank heaven for the increase in organically farmed acreage but the march is too slow. The more that folk buy 'cheap' chemically-produced food, the more chemicals will be used. This food isn't cheap anyway, at the end of the day, when the costs of illness, cleaning up drinking water etc., are taken into account.

Are the authorities and scientists afraid to tell us the truth? Maybe the RSPB should take a wider view. The poor old sparrows (and the lapwings, leatherjackets and bees) may be a warning to us, just as we used to take canaries down mines, to monitor for toxic gases. Remember that book - 'Silent Spring' by Rachel Carson? We have the chance to make changes, via our spending habits. Money (sadly) is king.

Georgina Downs's victory in the High Court, earlier this month, is one step on the road to common sense. Let's hope it will lead to a continuing journey.


There is another thought. These little chaps are not called 'house sparrows' for nothing. Their favourite nesting place in our premises is in the old stone roof. Could it also be that modern roofing methods are not 'sparrow-friendly'? Of course, all those cars on our roads may have a part to play, too, but the reservoir of insects, in a healthy environment, should out number the death toll on the road.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Big Swim


This nice little story from Northumberland brightens a week or so of gloom and doom on our news. The intrepid otter has stunned conservationists by swimming to the Farne islands, where tracks have been seen by National Trust wardens.




Whether the otter intended to make this pretty incredible journey is unclear - maybe it was swept by currents and winds in the recent gales. Either way, what an amazing feat of survival, endurance and prowess, swimming for at least three miles from the nearest coastline, in stormy waters and winter temperatures.

Map, to help appreciation of this phenomenon:


Brownsman is one of the larger islands in the middle of the archipelago,

By the way, my grandfather always used to call the kettle a water 'otter!

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]


View Article  The Wonders of Research


Ah, researchers, how would we manage without them?


Research carried out by Dundee University has now discovered that babies pushed in buggies that have them facing the parent laugh more, talk more, interact more, sleep more easily and suffer less stress than those in buggies that have them facing forwards, away from the parent. Glory be.

Perhaps their next research project should be to find out whether a dummy shoved in a baby's mouth might hinder communication! That ought to be worth a hefty research grant.

Babies are not a sub-species, they are our next generation and surely they should be treated with respect and good manners, just as should any other member of our community?

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  Christmas Cards


Perhaps we're later ordering Christmas Cards than most but, if you haven't already ordered, perhaps you'd like to consider which charities perform experiments on animals.


Of course we wish to support charity but, in my opinion, animal experimentation (vivisection/laboratory animal experimentation) is not only inhumane, it is also non-productive of medical benefit. In fact, I believe it holds back potential medical advances.


Thankfully, there are plenty of other charities that do not experiment on animals. They get our support.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]

View Article  South Africa congratulations


Congratulations to the seven South African vets who passed the Faculty of Homeopathy's post-graduate examination (VetMFHom) earlier this month. They are:

Marianna de Vos

Sheila Clow

Margaret Hiza

Norman Pearson

Lara Schmidt

Louise Biggs

Ingrid Spitze

They will be welcomed into the Faculty as new 'Veterinary Members'.This is a 'first' for the African continent and is hopefully only the start of great hings to come. Well done those who worked so long and hard to achieve this landmark in their careers and I wish them a career of ongoing personal development and job satisfaction. My thanks also to those who helped with the task of examining, out in South Africa. This was another triumph of video link, as I did not have to leave my desk for the whole two days of the process!

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org while you're here?]

View Article  Victory for Common Sense and the Common Man


Georgina Downs has, by her persistence, tenacity and courage, achieved a land mark victory for the rights of citizens to be informed what sprays (agrochemicals - herbicides, fungicides and pesticides) are about to be used around their home.

Yesterday, a High Court judge ruled that Georgina Downs, who lives in a rural area outside Chichester, West Sussex, had produced "solid evidence" that residents had suffered harm from these chemicals. For too long has this very real and present danger in the countryside been ignored and belittled.




Mr Justice Collins said, in his ruling, that ". . . . 'defects' in Defra's approach to pesticide safety 'contravene the requirement' of a 1991 EC Directive that harmonises the regulation of 'plant protection products' and that Mr Benn 'must think again and consider what needs to be done' . . . .".

It is clear that the government has not taken its responsibilities to the common man seriously enough and has failed to comply with its obligations under a European Directive to protect rural residents and communities from possible harmful exposure to toxic substances during crop spraying. It is probably too much to expect the traditional resignations of those shown not to have acted correctly in office.

Information on pesticides has always been difficult to obtain, with companies even trying to keep safety data secret! - see this page from 2002:


This is not a game of who can beat the system but a serious matter of health and safety, not in work but in our homes, gardens and while going about our daily lives. Of course, we have also seen many dogs harmed by the cavalier approach to the use of agro-chemicals, while they have been out on walks in the countryside or in public parks and it is high time this whole area came under the microscope. Commercial interest cannot be allowed to take precedence over reason and safety although, all too often, that would appear to be what happens in our modern society.

Of course, those who farm organically and those who buy organic food are, as the Soil Association slogan goes, 'part of the soluion not part of the problem'. Chemical food is 'cheap food', at what cost?

Congratulations to Georgina Downs! Spare me from the so-called 'celebrities' - here's a real star.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org while you're here?]

View Article  Nano Particles, Nanny State and Fruit & Veg


The Nanny State of Europe has finally threatened to withdraw its archetypal Euro-Madness laws, preventing the sale of mis-shapen fruit and vegetables. This SHOULD be good news for consumers and producers alike, but will the 20% of produce, hitherto rejected under these laws and wasted, see its way onto the shelves. I certainly hope so but, knowing supermarkets, I am not sure. How can we waste good food, on account of its shape, while people worldwide are starving?



The EU is also going to look into the safety of the so-called Nano Particles, those tiny particles that can penetrate skin with ease and which are incorporated into all sorts of products, including clothing and cosmetics.



Good on 'em on both counts. I just hope they will come up with decent research methodology, for safety-evaluation of the Nano-Particles and not use poor animals again. Animals are an unreliable model for the human condition and, anyway, why should they suffer to aid the development of products that we only use for our vanity.

 [Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org while you're here?]

View Article  Chemotherapy under the Spotlight


At last, some independent research on chemotherapy, offering an unbiased appraisal, albeit on a small sector (late-stage) of cancer patients.


"Serious questions are today raised about chemotherapy for seriously ill cancer patients, some of whom die as a result of the drugs they are taking.

An inquiry into more than 600 deaths within 30 days of chemotherapy has found the treatment probably either caused or hastened death in 27% of cases. . . . .

. . . . The inquiry was carried out by the independent NCEPOD (National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death), whose members come mainly from the medical royal colleges.

Its findings raise difficult issues about what doctors think they are doing and what patients and their families want. Some of those who died were receiving chemotherapy to try to combat the cancer, but more were given it as palliative care ... to reduce the symptoms and give them a better quality of life as it drew to an end.

Patients usually suffer side-effects from chemotherapy, said the report's co-author Mark Lansdown, a surgical oncologist. But most patients in the study were receiving palliative treatment in which the aim was to alleviate symptoms of cancer with minimum side-effects. Yet 43% of all patients in the study suffered significant treatment-related toxicity."

It must be bad enough to have contracted a deadly disease, without having to fear the treatment. Medical research must be based more on reality, like this work, rather than on the hypothetical and irrelevant products of animal experimentation. Iatrogenic disease will continue, while research is commercially-oriented and animal-based.

 [Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org while you're here?]


View Article  Sad Day for Animals and for Medicine


The long-foretold Animal Research Laboratory opens in Oxford.


Why does 'science' persist in using animals for medical experiments (called research) into human diseases that have no animal parallel? Promised advances have not been forthcoming. How can they result from such a misguided process? Animal experimentation is holding back medical advances and introduces Russian Roulette into medicine [have we already forgotten the dramatic example of the six healthy volunteers who took TGN1412 for the first human trial in London, on 13 March 2006, who suffered serious toxic reactions with collapse and loss of consciousness with multiple organ failure (MOF) and were admitted to intensive care?]. The genome of a chimpanzee, according to some, is 98% similar to that of man, yet the disease of AIDS cannot be induced in chimpanzees.

According to yesterday's news reports, the hundreds of monkeys (even less like humans) that will be housed in this facility represent only 2% of the animals held there. Genetically-modified mice were the first to be moved in, yesterday.

Despite countless tragic tales of serious human damage and deaths, using the products of animal experimentation, the gravy train rolls on. Careers, kudos and money are put before animal welfare.

How will a future enlightened generation look back on this sad and wasteful practice and those who perpetrate such activity?

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org while you're here?]

View Article  Heart Transplant Horror


What has our society come to, that we very nearly saw legal action to force a thirteen year-old girl to have a heart transplant against her wishes? I shall not reiterate the sad circumstances of this case here, as plenty has already been written elsewhere.



http://calvininjax.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/girl-13-refuses-heart-transplant-and-hospital-backs-down-from-legal-action/ (you can leave comment here)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27665174/ (examines the issues more deeply)

I shall pause, however, to consider what would have been done to the likes of you and me, quite rightly, had we sought to force a 13 year-old into a traumatic experience against her wishes. There are, thankfully, child abuse (protection) laws.

Words fail me.

Why was a clumsy bureaucratic tool unleashed and almost unstoppable legal machinery launched before proper consideration had been given? I can see the point that medical personnel would be very concerned to act in a child's best interests. I cannot see how threatening the horrors of legal action against a loving family, that has been through so much trauma already, can be anything other than crass and ugly. Why the threat before the opinion of a social worker had been sought?

Would you put your dog through such an ordeal and risk, for what appeared (from the minimum information that has been published) to be the chance of a very short prolongation of life?  There was also the chance of dying alone in hospital. One assumes that Hannah would, anyway, had the proposed course of action been pursued, have to have been forced into sedation before being abducted from home.

Dignity and welfare were very much at risk. Congratulations to Andrew and Kirsty Jones and Hannah, for bringing this to public attention and, hopefully, for making other PCTs more careful in future (this incident is even more poignant, when it is considered that Mrs Jones is apparently an intensive care nurse).

My heart goes out to the family and I hope that the Disney World trip, to Orlando, Florida, becomes a treasured reality.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org while you're here?]

View Article  Congratulations to the new VetMFHoms in Australia


Congratulations to Henry Stephenson, Carl von Schreiber and David Hare, three stalwart vets in Australia who have attained their VetMFHom qualification. They have worked long and hard and did well during the last hurdle. This is now the beginning of a long journey of personal development and I wish them all well.

Last night, all night long, we held the clinical and oral parts of the Faculty of Homeopathy's veterinary homeopathic postgraduate examinations (VetMFHom) in Australia. Why all night? Well, I partook in and oversaw the examination process, by video link, from my desktop in the UK, while it was actually Monday in Australia. If today I look as if I've been up all night, it's OK, I really have.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org while you're here?]