A Tribute to Dr Christopher Day FF(Hom), MRCVS
On the 19th April this year, we lost a giant amongst vets and an icon in the world of homeopathy. Dr Christopher Day, slipped away peacefully at home, an ailing heart finally getting the better of him. Many of you may not be familiar with Chris but the Whole Health Agriculture Foundation Course in Progressive Farm Homeopathy may never have evolved had it not been for the perseverance and vision of this incredible man and the road he laid for homeopaths across the globe.
The foundations of veterinary homeopathy in the UK were ensured when Chris instigated veterinary involvement with the Faculty of Homeopathy. He was instrumental in creating the veterinary homeopathy course and was one of the first recipients of the VetMFHom qualification. This was the first such veterinary qualification in the world and is used as a model for international accreditation through the International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy (IAVH), which Chris was also instrumental in setting up. He was Veterinary Dean at the Faculty of Homeopathy for over thirty years and filled many other roles and posts over his lifetime.
Chris was a founding member of the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS) and the international equivilant, IAVH. Indeed, were it not for Chris, we may never have had the homeopath vets we value so greatly today, (including our very own Head of Livestock Health Programmes, Chris Aukland). Furthermore, he wrote a multitude of books which have been instrumental in encouraging not just animal owners to use homeopathy but also inspiring some conventional vets too.
A recent tribute from Homeopathy Europe says
“He was one of a small group of homeopathic vets along with John Saxton, George McLeod and Frances Hunter in the 60’s and 70’s that kept the flame alight and made veterinary homeopathy what it is today. There can’t be any of us who haven’t benefited from his teaching and experience during our own homeopathic journeys and it seems almost inconceivable that he is no longer with us.”
A man of conviction
Similar tributes in this article give you a clear picture of the man so many of us leaned on to cure our beloved animals.
- Kind, devoted.
- A pioneer, a man of conviction.
- Strong and stood up for what he believed in, making the world a better place and inspiring many others to follow a similar path.
Born in 1945 to parents who were vets, Chris knew he was always going to be a vet too. He had the best teachers for his future career as he recalls that they were “shining examples of the profession, putting the patient above all and client second.”
He saw practice with his parents from a very young age and knew that country vetting was for him. During these early days of Chris’s life in the 1950s, ‘traditional’ medicines were still on the shelves. He saw the evolution of modern pharmaceuticals and acquired more understanding of clinical pharmacology than he said he had any right to at such a young age!
Chris had relations who were homeopathic physicians in Germany which is where his interest was ignited. He watched his mother use homeopathy in her veterinary work. He saw it in action, helping conditions that he already understood to be only treatable with conventional medical intervention.
Chris’s journey into veterinary medicine at the age of 25 lead him to the use of, not just homeopathy, but acupuncture, chiropractic, essential oils and herbs (which he saw as leading to the evolution of many of the pharmaceutical products already appearing in the 1950s). Qualifying as a vet in 1972, from Cambridge University and Veterinary School, where he also studied agriculture, Chris set up as a country vet. Naturally, he would be called out by farmers to treat their livestock and his knowledge on large animals, including horses, extended to small animals and wildlife. He explains in his bio for the Faculty of Homeopathy that
“In the late 80s and 90s, I conducted a number of in-house clinical trials, one of which was published in the Veterinary Record (peer-review journal). The experience gained in these helped us to run the veterinary input to modern intensive dairy, sheep and pig farms largely without pharmaceutical input. We had a great deal of media interest and demands for lectures from interest groups, local veterinary groups, universities, veterinary conferences, media including several feature television programmes and the pharmaceutical companies, who were no doubt checking what opportunities homeopathy presented for them. This period also saw the start of the BAHVS, the start of Faculty veterinary training, the inauguration of the International Veterinary Homeopathic Association (IAVH) and international veterinary homeopathic teaching. I would call this the heyday of veterinary homeopathy and I was privileged and excited to have been a part of it.”
Chris was committed to encouraging young vets to pick up the baton and add holistic health approaches to their repertoire. He said,
“I would encourage any veterinary surgeon who has experienced a failure to bring about the desired clinical result in a case to explore this ‘other’ exciting approach. I have enjoyed a long career, full of excitement, awe, reward, fulfillment and pleasure. I would hate to think that any veterinary colleague might be denied a similar experience and that any suffering animal might be denied the potential benefit of homeopathic healing.”
It is easy to say that the world is a poorer place without Chris Day caring for our animals, but it is for us to ensure that his work moves forward with the same vigour and conviction that he demonstrated right to the end. Chris started many of our homeopathic journeys, he ensured that we have holistic vets, he ignited a passion for homeopathy in so many, it is for us all to carry that torch forward.
The life of Christopher Day is being remembered on:
20th May at 2.30pm at the Church Of The Holy Rood, Sparsholt, Wantage, OX12 9PT
About the author: The WHAg team love to showcase farmers and supporters who epitomise the ethos of ‘Whole Health’. We live and breathe this approach, which flows through us in farming, work, and family.