HOMEOPATHY : A METHOD OF PREVENTION AND THERAPY IN A FATTENING PIG MEAT BREEDING FARM. PRACTICAL RESULTS AND ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS.
SUMMARY : AN OUTLINE OF THE RESULTS OF A SERVICE OF HOMEOPHATHIC TREATMENT CARRIED OUT IN AN INTENSIVE PIG MEAT BREEDING FARM WITH THE PURPOSE OF LIMITING THE SPREAD OF RESPIRATRORY INFECTIOUS DISEASES SO AS TO AVOID THE MASSIVE USE OF ANTIBIOTICS AND AT THE SAME TIME TO IMPROVE ENVIROMENTAL AND ANIMAL WELFARE.
DR CARLA DE BENEDICTIS
I.R.M.S.O. ISTITUTO PER LA RICERCA SCIENTIFICA OMEOPATICA
VIA PAOLO EMILIO 32 ROMA ITALIA
VIA RIOLI N 64 VELLETRI ROMA ITALIA
TELEFONO/FAX 06 9625910
CELLULARE 340 8527786
INTRODUCTION: The pigs respiratory diseases.
One of the most serious problems in modern pig farming are diseases affecting the respiratory system. The fattening and finishing stages, in mild climates such as ours, reach their peak in winter time. A key factor is poor air quality, due to inappropriate ventilation. This is determined by the level of polluting substances carried in the air, such as dust, ammonia, CO2, bacteria, fungal spores and endotoxins.
Poor ventilation in breeding pens produces high levels of CO2 followed by an increased concentration of dusts and ammonia in the enclosed space.
The most frequent aetiological agent present is Mycolplasma Hyopneumoniae, which strikes the respiratory system with a slow development and with no mortality risk unless bacteria of secondary irruption intervene.
The mycoplasma could combine with PRRSV (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus), with the Swine influenza virus (H3N2 strain), with the Aujeszky virus, with the Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, with the streptococcus suis, with the Pasteurella multocida and with the Bordetella Bronchiseptica creating the Porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC).
The mycoplasma can also combine with the new and emerging pathogenic agents such as Circovirus. The pig respiratory Coronavirus and the TGE virus (transmitted Gastro-Enteritis). The mycoplasma responsible for enzootic pneumonia is quite small, it grows slowly in the host and attacks itself to the mucous tracheo-bronchial membrane.
The mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is very slow in colonizing in forming seric antibodies and in causing visible macroscopic lesions, being a pathogenic agent of the mucous membrane, it goes undetected in the immune system.
The disease follows a slow course with a dry cough, loss of weight, shaggy bristle and the subject tends to isolate itself from the group, developes a temperature and food conversion deteriorates. If there is the additional complication of germs of the second burst , the symptomatology becomes more acute with respiratory difficulties and the death rate increases up to 5-7%.
The anatomical pathological lesions are usually found in the apical lung lobes with carnificated areas which range from purple-red to greyish pink. If further aggravated by the Corinebacterium pyogenes, a serous or muco-purulent discharge emerges when incision occurs.
The aim of my research is to demonstrate that it is possible to reduce the consumption of antibiotics on farms, while homeopathic medicine can be used successfully in its own right as part of everyday practice.
Antibiotics are synthetic molecules that pose a potential threat to the environment and human health.
Many farmers are sceptical in the face of new treatment methods and fear financial loss, while it is also not generally possible to make improvements to the farm structures without encountering enormous expense, thus posing problems to the introduction of the treatment.
My experience has found that homeopathic remedies act as an adjuvant to antibiotics and vaccines, speeding treatment times up and making the treatments themselves more effective. When antibiotics and vaccines are strictly necessary, their combined use with homeopathic remedies speeds up recovery times and reduces the probability of a relapse.
My aim has therefore been to demonstrate that doses of synthetic drugs can be significantly reduced if used in combination with homeopathic medicine, since the drugs become more effective and have a more long-term effect when administered to animals in this way.
I felt that the best way to check the truth of this statement was to put it to the test on a farm, in conditions as near as possible to those that vets and farmers face everyday.
I am perfectly aware that from a purely homeopathic point of view this type of approach is a compromise. However, I believe that in order to become a tool used by vets in practice, pure homeopathy must necessarily be practical about it. Winning over the farmers does not mean comparing conventional methods of treatment with homeopathic methods, but rather demonstrating the validity of our method where official medicine fails and slowly turning the balance towards homeopathy. We should also remember that many farmers like to take things into their own hands, purchasing drugs on the black market, in the belief that they have a greater knowledge on this subject than the vet.
The use of homeopathy will lead to the control of the health situation being completely removed from the farmer’s hands and restored to the vet.
In this study we must also consider that, more often than not, animal welfare in intensive farms with large numbers of animals and the need to keep costs down while reaping the maximum benefit, requires a financial and ethical compromise, which, if refused a priori, risks the value of homeopathic treatment being marginalized from animal husbandry.
Due to the actual situation of the farms and the fact that the property being experimented on was not my own, it was impossible for the test and control groups to be correctly formulated. However, despite this, I believe that my contribution demonstrates the need for further tests to be carried out in a more “scientific” fashion. These tests will require the allocation of funds as a form of guarantee for the farmer, so as to compensate for any financial damage or loss of the homeopathic study group in the case of negative results.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
We are dealing with intensive pig meat breeding farm located in the Lazio region and consisting of 16 pens which house about 1000 pigs each, divided in boxes which contain 42 pigs each for a total number of 15000 pigs.
The animals of national origin large white breed reach the complex weighing about 45-60 kilos and leave after 6 months weight about 160 kilos ready for slaughter.
Once the groups comes together, it is impossible to introduce new elements because a hierarchy is established, the dominant and the submissive, and new elements would not be accepted. The months prior to fattening, the males are castrated and the teeth of both sexes are extracted in order to avoid damages to mother’s teats . They are also vaccinated and undergo a cycle of antibiotic therapy to prevent neonatal diarrhoea and infection following castration.
Feeding consist of cereal flour mixed with whey which according to breeder opinion makes the drinking through no longer necessary. The shelters are brick surface making the environment particularly damp due to faecal discharge, daily washing, liquid feed and geographical characteristics.
The ventilation is from the windows because the local veterinary service has deemed it advisable to close and seal the ventilators in order to contain the impleasant odours which would contaminate the surrounding area.
We should remember that pig does not sweat through the skin but tries to evaporate through polypnea, it’s not enough for a satisfactory thermoregulation in these intensive structures.
Still with regard to thermoregulation, it would be better for the pig to roll in mud, evaporation would be move effective than with just water.
We tested three barns with a total of 2800 pigs, who reached the farm in November 2001 from Modena (North of Italy), weighing between 56.5 and 59 kg and slaughtered in May 2002. The destination of the meat is Prosciutto di Parma.
Three adjacent barns were also under observation and housed an equal number of animals under similar conditions. A small group of the herd to be tested showed a breathing pathology and the piglets were thin and rundown. I decided to treat the samples affected by homeopathic treatment according to the syndrome and observed pathological symptoms and respective modality for the homeopathic diagnosis. It has not been easy finding mental symptoms on that occasion, however we obtained a good selection
• Dry, persistent cough aggravated by movement
• Total immobility, the remaining a lying position
• Lesions of the limbs, lying on the affected limbs
• Improve when places in a separate dry box
With this syndrome, the first choice was
BRYONIA prescribed at 1000 CH
firstly dissolved in water, than added to the swill tub and turned for half an hour, only one administration, together with 500 gr powdered tylosina, (effective macrolide against micoplasma) HALF THE DOSE suggested.
(the conventional treatment consists in a mixture of oxitetracicline, spyramicin and tyamulin in powder form dissolved in the swill tab with feed and whey for 3 consecutive days).
After a week the second treatment consists of:
BRYONIA 1000 CH administered with ANTIMONIUM CRUDUM 1000 CH because in a particular barn the animals had difficulty in settling down, the whey was highly acid and were undergoing a type of very advanced feed which could create indigestion.
The antibiotic continued to be half the dose suggested.
Afttier another week the third treatment consists of
SULPHUR 1000 CH to maintain an increase of muscular mass in the piglet growing phase and antibiotic as above
Fourth treatment after one more week : BRYONIA XMK + 500 gr of tylosine
Fifth treatment after one more week : BRYONIA X MK + 500 gr of tylosine
Sixth treatment after one more week: SULPHUR 1000 CH.+ 500 gr of tylosine
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
In the barns treated also with homeopathic drugs the number of subject affected by cough decreased within a week following the first administration of BRYONIA.
The consumption of powdered antibiotic in the feed consisted of three sacs of TYLOSINE each of one kilo nine bottles of injectable tylosine and 12 bottles of penicillin in the worst cases.
The weight increased at the end of six months was of little relevance, but the general condition has improved, since in the worst barn there were only 2 deaths and those sent to slaughter due to lesions in the limbs were only 11.
There was no reduction in aggression whilst they were more excitable probably due to their improved state of health.
In the control barns the medical treatment followed the traditional route with feed treated with antibiotics (oxytetraciclyne, thiamuline and spiramicyn) for three consecutive days.
Consumption consisted of 50kilograms each , individual therapies were carried on with 72 bottles of both penicillin and thiamulyne, 15 animals died and 20 were sent to slaughter due to lesions in the limbs.
When we consider the course of investigation and the results of therapy in these 3 barns, we can summarize in the following table the results as we mentioned before does not hold scientific rigour, but is only an indication
Sperimentation group Control group Advantages %
Powder Antibiotic 3 Kg 150 Kg – 98
Injectable Antibiotics 21 72 – 70,83
Mortality 2 15 – 86,6
Lesion in limbs 11 20 – 45
It is clear that by improving environmental conditions these rates can be further improved, but after, as it is in our case, in is non possible to do so because of the limited political vision in our zootechnic region, which tends to close down or eliminate completely productive opportunities rather than support or increase them.
PATHOLOGICAL –ANATOMY RESULTS
The pathological anatomy results presented in the slaughtering chain confirmed the tendency shown in the mortality rate and in the lesion of the limbs : lesions found in the animal tested were localized and lymphonodal system unaffected, the liver usually affected of steatosis in fattening animals had hardly any lesions, dry pericarditis and apical pneumonia were rare and restricted.
The lesions of the pigs in the observation barn were more extensive, systematic and more frequent for each of the sample recorded.
Homeopathy can be used successfully also in traditional intensive farming, as well as in a limited way in the same pig farm.
In these circumstances we cannot dismiss the use of feeds which include drugs during the critical stages but homeopathy is a valid support because it synergizes and limits the use of antibiotics.
If we consider the high rate and interaction of respiratory illnesses which affect pigs, which total vaccinations and treatment by antibiotics have failed to control, unicist omeopathy is an additional weapon capable of bringing about resistance to diseases.
The use of single homeopathy as compared with complex products or even homotoxicology, make it possible to intervene during the acute critical stages adjusting the strength and doses according to pathology.
Reduced costs involved with unicist homeopathy in comparison with complex homeopathy, enables the introduction of therapeutic changes without too much opposition from the breeders.
The animals treated homeopathic drugs do not undergo repeated individual therapy and above all stressful.
It is well known, but it’s worth repeating that the use of homeopathy limits environmental pollution, decreasing the residual antibiotic in the excretion. This results in mantaining alive the bacterial population of the sludge during the process of purification of water and therefore the discharged water is less polluted.
According to new directives from the EU samples testing the permanence of residual antibiotic molecules and anti parasitic agent in the meat have begun. The use of homeopathy reduces risks in the food chain hence the motto “ from stable to table”.
The health risk to humans due to contaminated food must be checked in the stable form the animal’s birth in according with H.A.C.C.P. (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and homeopathy is proving an excellent resource.
Moreover saving on drugs is an advantage to the breeder and the veterinary surgeon can administer personally the therapies.
The drop in the use of antibiotics has been noted by the suppliers something we must not disregard being one of the obstacles to the expansion of homeopathy.
Finally it would mean a reduction of work for the staff administering daily therapies waist of energy and time which could be spend on other tasks.
I have asked myself repeatedly whether my position as a homeopathic veterinary surgeon could be contradictory in terms when applied to intensive breeding. It probably is, but what I can do is to ensure that I make the brief existence of respective animals the least distressing possible. They live in difficult and frustrating conditions, totally unnatural and diseases renders them more vulnerable in the social context as well as more subdued and frustrated.
One final point: our planet is becoming increasingly more desert like also due to intensive farming and about 80% of all crops produced in USA is used as animal feed.
Each of us should contribute by being more aware of this fact and promoting the kind of intensive breeding focussed more on the well-being of the animal and its quality rather than on quantity, even if it means eating less meat, something which we practised in the past, when man enjoyed better health alongside the animals he hunted.
Bertacchini F., Campani I. – Manuale dell’allevamento suino – Ed agricole, Bologna, 2001
Canello S. – Teoria e metodologia omeopatica in Medicina Veterinaria – IPSA, Palermo, 1995
Del Francia F. – Omeopatia per la cura degli animali – RED, Como, 1990
Kent J.T. – Lezioni di materia medica omeopatica – IPSA, Palermo, 1998
Kent J.T. – Repertory of Homeopathic materia medica – Jain Publishers PVT. LTD, New Dheli, 1996
Mac Leod G. – The Homoeopathic approach to the treatment and prevention of diseases – C.W. Daniel Company LTD, London, 1994
Nigrelli, Gatti, Guizzardi – Le malattie del suino – Ed. Informatore Agrario, Bologna, 1989
Ortega P.S. – Introduzione alla medicina omeopatica – IPSA. Palermo, 2001
Rifkin J. – Ecocidio – Mondatori, Milano, 2001
Schering-Plough Animal Health – Il Complesso della Malattia Respiratoria del Suino – CD Room divulgativo, Prima Edizione.
THE PROJECTION I REQUIRE IS DATA-VIDEO PROJECTION
MICROSOFT POWER POINT ON CD SUPPORT
INTENSIVE PIG BREEDING FARM
SWINE RESPIRATORY DISEASES
HOMEOPATHY IN SWINE
ANTIBIOTICS AND HOMEOPATHY