As friends, stalkers, regular readers or simply plain-old psychics might know, I’ve been out of the country for a week, throwing myself off the side of mountains in the name of adrenaline, enjoyment and over-priced middle-class adventure-holiday fun. Hence my shocking goggle-tan, slight working-class-guilt-pangs and radio silence here on the blog. Fortunately, I had a great time away… but I’ve got to say I’m a bit disappointed by how things were when I got back. People are still pretending to talk to the dead, homeopathy’s still on the NHS, and the Daily Mail is still pumping out batshit lunacy. Really, did you all do nothing while I was gone? Shocking.
Speaking of the Daily Mail and my own relative silence of late, here’s something uber-old-hat by now (news these days moves so fast) but I felt I had to write it up partly because a) it’s batshit insane, b) it’s a good example of how fallacious arguments are entirely interchangeably applicable to a whole range of topics and c) it gives me a chance to make some cheap gags:
Vaccines ‘are making our dogs sick as vets cash in’ - Source: Daily Mail (obviously).
See what I mean? Replace ‘dogs’ for ‘babies’ and ‘vets’ for ‘doctors’, and you’ve got a textbook anti-vaccination statement, a la Miss McCarthy. And it doesn’t stop there:
“Vaccines given to dogs are making them ill, a pet charity claimed yesterday. Profit-hungry drug companies and vets are ‘frightening’ dog owners into inoculating their pets more often than necessary, according to Canine Health Concern.”
If this isn’t PR for the Canine Health Concern charity, I don’t know what is. And it doesn’t stop there, either:
“Some puppies have developed conditions including autism and epilepsy after a raft of injections, it warns”
Yep – doggie autism. Doggie vaccines cause doggie autism, or so says the Canine Health Concern charity. Now, a few things to bear in mind:
- Vaccines don’t cause autism. That’s established fact.
- Dogs don’t have autism, or at least if they do it’s not caused by vaccines.
- Canine Health Concern is not a very large charity, and does not often get national news coverage the size their ‘Vaccines cause autism’ story has.
Those facts established, let’s continue in the Mail:
“Catherine O’Driscoll, from the charity, said: ‘We are not anti-vaccination. What we are saying is that currently our pets are receiving far too many. The latest scientific research shows that after the first course of injections as a puppy most dogs are immune against these diseases for at least seven years, if not for life. Every year pet vaccination companies hold National Vaccination Month, a national campaign when pet owners whose boosters have lapsed by 18 months or more are terrified into having their pet jabbed.”
Well, I’m sorry, Catherine, but that sounds pretty anti-vaccine to me. And it’s surely easy to see just how pot/kettle/black it is to speak of animal owners who are being terrified by Big Pharma into having their pet jabbed… with stuff that will give them AUTISM!!!!1!!11!!
This, of course, is the same non-anti-vaccination Catherine O’Driscoll who has written two anti-vaccination and anti-medicine books (‘What Vets Don’t Tell You about Vaccines‘ and ‘Shock to the System: The Facts about Animal Vaccination, Pet Food and How to Keep Your Pets Healthy‘) – the first page of one mentions going to a homeopathic vet who opened her eyes to how things really are; page two of the other book has Catherine admit she was a ‘science virgin’ and that ‘most of us – even the scientists – are science virgins’. Not to mention this beauty on page three:
“What nobody understands, and nobody seems to know, is how great the vaccination risk is. Will my dog die if I give him a vaccine? Will my child have brain damage if I give her a vaccine?” – Source: Shock to the System
Answer: No, Catherine, he won’t, and she won’t, and thanks for equating your dog’s life to that of your child’s.
So it’s hard to take Catherine seriously as a genuine source of unbiased, educated information. Well, it’s hard, unless you’re the Mail I mean. But then again, the Mail also ran with the back-up, super-proof tale of Charlie the Autistic Spaniel, whose owner told of his personality post-vaccination:
“Shutting a door or moving the washing basket terrified him. Then sometimes, despite calling his name, he wouldn’t even come to you… I simply cannot think of another explanation for the sudden change in his personality”
I can: He’s a fucking dog.
Elsewhere in the article, the Mail merrily quotes the letter produced by the crazy CHC and signed by ’17 vets and other pet experts’. Note that’s 17 total, not 17 vets AND other pet experts. And Catherine counts as a pet expert, remember. I wonder how many vets would sign a letter backing the use of vaccines… Fortunately, I know a vet, who I got straight onto the phone to – MSS member and sometime-blogger ‘Redwinelover‘, who quickly put paid to the notion that, as O’Driscoll suggests, a simple blood test would determine whether an animal needed a booster shot:
“It would actually be much more expensive to pay for the blood test to see if the dog is covered for the various diseases than it is to give one booster, as the booster shot can cover all the necessary vaccinations. There’s a certain percentage of dogs that will need the vaccination each time, so the best practice is to vaccinate yearly – after an extra 6 months past the booster date, 5-10%” of dogs are no longer immune; after an extra 12 months past the booster date that rises to 10-20%.
Also, vets are culpable if they were to forego vaccinating an animal and it develop the illness.”
What’s more, she confirmed to me that dogs don’t develop autism – or at least that there’s nowhere near enough personality work done on dogs to determine what robust diagnostic criteria would be for doggie autism.
So, I’ve been pretty disparaging of the CHC and O’Driscoll so far, and perhaps that seems harsh or ad-hom-y. Well, let’s take a brief look at the CHC website, and see if the criticism is justified.
“CHC advocates real food for dogs. That is, food that Mother Nature has designed, over millions of years, and which has made the species thrive for millions of years.”
Ooh, an appeal-to-nature fallacy, combined with the sheer idiocy to overlook that ‘Mother Nature’ isn’t the one responsible for how food and vegetables are today – instead millenia of selective breeding by humans have moulded crops into the food we know today.
“Emotional Freedom Techniques - Based on impressive new discoveries involving the body’s subtle energies, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) has been clinically effective in thousands of cases for Trauma & Abuse, Stress & Anxiety, Fears & Phobias, Depression, Addictive Cravings, Children’s Issues and hundreds of physical symptoms including headaches, body pains and breathing difficulties.”
Ooh, some mystical reference to ‘subtle energies’ and a healing system so completely bonkers in adults that we’ve featured it several times.
And what’s this in their ‘Complementary Healthcare’ list?
So, when your animals don’t heal, despite what you see as your best efforts, it is not that you are failing in your duty, or seeming not to be capable of healing anyone or keeping anyone safe, it is just that they see their going as the next best step, their own path to healing of the spirit rather than of the physical body.
There are 38 Flower Remedies, developed by Dr Bach with the aim of raising our vibrations so that we can hear our Spiritual Selves and fulfil our life purposes… If the dog becomes fixated on something that happened – for example, he heard a loud bang outside and now refuses to go into the garden, then White Chestnut can help him get the distressing event out of his mind and carry on with life.
Contacts – including details for:
- Association of British Veterinary Acupuncture
- British Association of Homoeopathic Veterinary Surgeons
- Emotional Freedom Technique for Animals – email firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone Catherine or Rob on +44(0)1821 670410 (that’s Catherine O’Driscoll, no less)
- McTimoney Chiropractic Association – 21 High Street, Eynsham, Oxford OX8 1HE. Tel 01865 880974. (good job puppies don’t get colic, I say)
- Wellspring Herbal – Glandewi, Pontgarreg, Llangroannog, Llandysul, Ceredigion, Wales SA44 6AJ. Tel 01239 654458. For Essiac, anti-cancer tea. (anti-cancer tea. Really)
I think it’s fair to say O’Driscoll and the Canine Health Concern charity aren’t the most reliable, sensible, sane sources of animal health information. Quick, someone call the Mail and tell them they’ve made a mistake, I’m positive they’ll issue a correction…