Homeopathy Papers

Use of Complementary Methods is Reducing Antibiotic Use, Vet Costs on UK and Irish Farms

Written by Lawrence Woodward

Lawrence Woodward, Chairperson of Whole Health Agriculture, reports on a survey of farmers who use complementary health methods, including homeopathy, with livestock.

A survey of over 220 livestock farms (80% commercial) in the UK and Ireland has reported up to 69% reduction in antibiotic use, up to 70% reduction in vet costs, significant reduction in disease frequency and severity, and 84% overall improvement in livestock health through the use of Complementary and Alternative Methods (CAMs).

24% of farmers report they have achieved and are maintaining ZERO antibiotic usage.

The survey was conducted by Whole Health Agriculture (WHAg), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to programmes which develop and promote a whole health approach to farming and food.

WHAg’s Head of Livestock Health Programmes, Chris Aukland, MRCVS, said, “We now know that a CAMs approach can work really well; the famers’ experiences cannot be ignored. Given the current global environmental challenges, wholistic methodologies and practices are where the future lies for the sake of our collective health”.

Award winning organic poultry farmer Pammy Riggs stresses “It is worth looking at all alternatives to antibiotic use as we are fast heading towards the nightmare scenario of antibiotic resistance in human disease treatment. This is too important to ignore”.


88% of farmers surveyed use homeopathy

68% use herbs and medicinal plants (including herbal leys)

63% are using essential/plant oils


67% of dairy farmers say their herds have lower disease frequency and reduced disease severity. As well as achieving significant reductions in antibiotic use, 69% of dairy farmers report significant improvement in the general health and wellbeing of their livestock. This has major potential for an industry increasingly moving towards ‘Produced Without Antibiotics’ and deserves to be treated seriously.

Dairy farmer Chris Gosling, who has successfully used alternative methods for years with significant reduction in antibiotic use, expressed frustration that previous researchers have ignored what she has been doing: “I was invited to take part in a mastitis study, but they wanted to discount my use of Homeopathy and Obsalim, so I declined”.

WHAg chairperson, Lawrence Woodward, commented, “This survey highlights the value of these alternative approaches, and the voices of these experienced farmers should not be ignored”.

Figures on Antibiotic and Anthelmintic use in the UK:

•        £290 million is spent annually on veterinary medicines for livestock.

(National Office of Animal Health)

•        £116 million of this (40%) is spent on wormers alone.

•        30% of all antibiotics used in the UK are for farm animals.

(The Veterinary Medicines Directorate)

The survey was carried out between May 2020 and January 2021 through a questionnaire designed to capture quantitative data and the authentic ‘Voice of the Farmer’.  221 livestock farmers, 80% commercial, responded. The full survey report, including a comprehensive literature review is available: https://wholehealthag.org/survey/

WHAg’s recent presentation at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, showcasing the results and detailing CAM approaches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDOL8Bt6XDo&t=8s

Whole Health Agriculture is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, developing, promoting and educating farmers, health professionals and citizens in whole health approaches to food and farming. It was established in 2018 and has just launched a new Learning Centre for progressive farm education:



For further details contact:

Lawrence Woodward, WHAg Chairperson: [email protected]

Karen Seyersted, WHAg board member/ survey coordinator: [email protected]

All information given in the survey was anonymous and confidential.  Permission from the quoted farmers has been granted.

[1] https://wholehealthag.org/
[2] https://learning.wholehealthag.org/
[3] https://wholehealthag.org
[4] https://learning.wholehealthag.org

About the author

Lawrence Woodward

Lawrence Woodward O.B.E. is Chairperson of Whole Health Agriculture (WHAg) He was a founder and the Director of the Organic Research Centre – Elm Farm for 30 years. In 2001 he was awarded an OBE for services to organic farming, having played a pivotal role in the strategic and practical development of the organic sector in the UK and internationally. He is a director of Beyond GM and Whole Health Agriculture, and is a member of the Gaia Foundation Seed Sovereignty Programme. Lawrence is deeply engaged in articulating and developing the underlying wholistic concepts of organic food and farming; and how they relate to food quality and health under today’s social, economic and environmental conditions.


  • One more voice for sanity but with practical applications and solutions to the crisis that so many people simply put their head in the sands and walk away from. Associations, both medical and veterinary produce ‘commitments’ to reduce dependency on antibiotics and overall usage but rarely think outside of standard conventional practices. Thank you for highlighting this issue
    Dr Rose Unsworth BVMS

  • Very good idea to get away from the expensive poisons the farmers have to feed the farm animals.
    They can save all that money spent on dewormers by using homeopathic remedies like Cina in drinking water. It costs 1/1000th or less of the piperazine citrate etc that the currently use.

  • I read something a couple of years ago that claimed the pharmaceutical industry knew it was losing the antibiotic fight and was scrambling to shift focus onto hormone drugs – and I’ve been seeing advertisements for hormone drugs over the past couple of weeks.

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