Helping farmers put real health on our plates

Farm homeopathy: an inconvenient truth

WHAg Window – giving a view from our perspective…..

The use of farm homeopathy is not a prerequisite of Whole Health Agriculture but many farmers who farm for health, use or have used homeopathy.

What Whole Health Agriculture shares with homeopathy is a belief in the critical importance of the body’s self-healing capacity, and the concept that health is a process of maintaining homeostasis (a stable internal environment) or balance.

The late Dr Peter Fisher (formerly Director of Research and Consultant Physician at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine) described homeopathic treatment as aiming “to stimulate and direct the body’s self-healing capacity by triggering a reaction. The body reacts to stimuli, which have physiological effects (drugs or toxins) by attempting to maintain homeostasis (a stable internal environment). Homeopathy makes therapeutic use of this effect.”

Many farmers have used, and are successfully using homeopathy. Our own survey of the use of farm homeopathy and other alternative methods is revealing significant levels of success in reducing anti-microbial drugs across all types of farms and livestock types – from smallholders to large scale, commercial productions. We shall be reporting these findings over the coming months.

Yet for sceptics – and those who pretend to be objective but aren’t really – the real-life evidence of farming practice isn’t enough. They dismiss it as fantastical wishful thinking, or conspiracy or arrested development or belief in fairies.

But is there anything more fanciful than the notion that hard-headed, commercial farmers would make-believe or lie about the evidence of their own, eyes, and the weight of their wallets and say that farm homeopathy works if it doesn’t?

For these sceptics, so called “scientific evidence” is the be all and end all. Yet they avoid the questions: Which science? Whose science? Which methodology? Which observations are fit for purpose? And which assessments are designed for failure.

They also fail to own up to the fact that its not so long ago that ecology and biological interactions struggled to find appropriate methodologies, scientific analysis and statistical treatments. Ecological research eventually found methods that are fit for purpose and it is highly likely that this will eventually happen with wholistic approaches and disciplines.

In the mean time we have the evidence of farmer experience, and, less well known, is that there is a body research evidence which indicates that homeopathy works – in people and in animals, plants, other organisms and cells. Before his death in 2018, Peter Fisher reviewed this evidence.

It is not definitive but it is substantial enough not to be dismissed. And at a time when we are facing new disease challenges, it should not be dismissed.

We recently reported about the hypothesis that “old friends” micro-organisms play a critical role in the development and regulation of human immune systems. If living organisms – whether in soil, plants, animals or man – have the ability to self – regulate or organise a resilient immune response by adapting to challenges (internal or externally generated), it is not unreasonable to explore the possibility that there can be a mechanism that triggers or stimulates that response in a way which Peter Fisher describes.

But setting this speculation aside, it is clear from farmer experience that whole farm approaches to health – whether in crop or livestock systems – build the capacity to be resilient to challenges (pests, disease, virus, draught, extreme weather events) by finding a way back to balance (homeostasis).

The experience of farmer indicates that homeopathy is one way of assisting in that approach.

To use Al Gore’s headline phrase, this is “an inconvenient truth”. Or you can choose your own headline. How about a paraphrase of Lord Alfred Douglas poem, it is a “truth that dare not speak its name”, or rather that people dare not speak of.

On the other hand, you could choose the headline “homeopathy works” – OK?

Lawrence Woodward

Lawrence Woodward OBE

About the author:  I’m the chairman of WHAg, founder and director of the Organic Research Centre (ORC), and regularly advise & speak about the principles and methods of organic agriculture. 

Be very wary of misleading papers and articles about “trendy” pet food diets

Dog waiting for dinner

WHAg Window – giving a view from our perspective…..

A new study on the changing pattern of diets fed to cats and dogs in English speaking countries has just been published in the Veterinary Record.

Although the vast majority of diets are still conventional, processed, bought in foods, the study shows a significant increase in the use of “unconventional” – homemade (HM) and/or raw animal products (RAP) and vegetarian ingredients.

Many people would think this is a good thing but in their summary of conclusions, the authors – who all have links to pet food manufactures or ingredient suppliers – highlight that “an increased risk of nutrient insufficiency and associated conditions have been attributed to unconventional feeding practices”.

However, the literature they cite is far from convincing and fails to show any evidence that the health of animals is actually being adversely affected any more than is the case with feeding conventional diets. The discussion of whether “unconventional” diets improve health is, predictably, thin.

Needless to say, media coverage of the study has focussed on the potential risks and not potential benefits and delights in knocking copy. “Trendy raw and vegan diets may cause health problems for cats and dog” is the Daily Telegraph headline.

The actual study deserves better treatment than this and a more intelligent, impartial summary conclusion than its authors give it. For example, the paper points out that:

  • “Trends in animal nutrition shadow trends in human nutrition, with increasing consumer interest in ‘natural’ and ‘holistic’ foods demonstrated in both human and pet feeding practices.” 

  • People who feed HM diets “may perceive these diets to be more palatable, or they may consider them to be healthier than processed commercial diets.”

  • “Feeders of RAP have been reported to have significantly different perceptions of the pet food industry, as well as animal health and nutrition than feeders of conventional diets.” 

  • “In particular, people who feed RAP to their pets had lower confidence in the advice of veterinarians, especially with respect to companion animal nutrition. They also reported concerns regarding the safety, quality and nutritional value of conventional foods, and perceived RAP as being more natural and healthier than conventional diets.”

  • “Promoters of HM diets and RAP claim that these foods will improve health, increase energy and even reverse chronic diseases such as cancer; however, there is currently a lack of peer-reviewed research to support these claims.”

All of which is familiar to those of us concerned about Whole Health.

 

New UK GMO regulations – what do they mean?

One of the most worrying aspects of the current political upheaval in the UK and Europe is the risk of being so overwhelmed by the noise and sense of urgency that we miss what’s really going on.

In the UK, the Brexit process involves, amongst other things, the transfer of European legislation into UK law – a process which has followed a stop-start pattern for most of this year.

However, during the prorogation of Parliament in September several key pieces of legislation slipped through undebated including the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 and the Animal Health and Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.

The new regulation is largely the same as current EU regulations with one notable exception. It mandates that GMO regulations are reviewed and revised every 5 years (first report due Sept 2024) – and that these should prioritise, where possible, “less onerous regulatory provision”.

Apart from ringing alarm bells about ‘slippery slopes’, this time frame buys the UK some time while Europe figures out what it wants to do about regulating GMOs.

Only last week EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told MEPs that if the UK wanted to secure a trade agreement it would have to maintain a level playing field and not undercut EU regulation. In this respect, as in many others, Brexit does not necessarily sever the UK from the EU.

For further information……click on full article link. 

Credit: Beyond GM

Full article: https://beyond-gm.org/new-uk-gmo-regulations-what-do-they-mean/

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