Organic farming principles promote the use of unconventional therapies as an alternative to chemical substances (which are limited by organic regulations), with homeopathy being the most extensive. Traditionally, Spain has had little faith in homeopathy but its use in organic farming is growing. Fifty-six Spanish organic dairy farmers were interviewed to obtain what we believe to be the first data on the use of homeopathy in organic dairy cattle in Spain. Only 32% of farms use some sort of alternative therapy (16.1% homeopathy, 10.7% phytotherapy and 5.3% using both therapies) and interestingly, a clear geographical pattern showing a higher use towards the East (similar to that in the human population) was observed. The main motivation to use homeopathy was the need to reduce chemical substances promoted by organic regulations, and the treatment of clinical mastitis being the principle reason. The number of total treatments was lower in farms using homeopathy compared with those applying allopathic therapies (0.13 and 0.54 treatments/cow/year respectively) and although the bulk SCC was significantly higher (p < 0.001) in these farms (161,826 and 111,218 cel/ml, respectively) it did not have any negative economical penalty for the farmer and milk quality was not affected complying with the required standards; on the contrary homeopathic therapies seems to be an alternative for reducing antibiotic treatments, allowing farmers to meet the organic farming principles.
Keywords: Dairy cattle; Homeopathy; Organic farming; Somatic cell count.
Copyright © 2015 The Faculty of Homeopathy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.