The British Veterinary Voodoo Society

In light of the gratifyingly supportive attitude of professional bodies (including the RCVS and a number of UK veterinary schools) towards systems of medicine based on magical thinking, the BVVS believes the time has come to extend our professional scope beyond the areas covered at present, and exploit the full potential of the discipline.

Sir J. G. Frazer (1922) analysed the principles of Sympathetic Magic and divided the discipline into two categories: Homoeopathic Magic (Law of Similarity) (or 'like produces like'), and Contagious Magic (Law of Contact).  Although Frazer did not include Hahnemann's medical homoeopathy among his examples of the former category, there is no doubt that it demonstrates every criterion necessary for such inclusion (Stevens, 2001).

If we further investigate the use of Homoeopathic Magic for healing, we in fact encounter the discipline of puppet healing, or Voodoo, just as frequently as traditional 'homeopathic medicine'.  The tag 'similia similibus' is commonly applied to this methodology just as to Hahnemann's (for example Sophistes, 1996; Lambert, 1998), and given the obvious potential of the subject and its consonance with an already accepted branch of veterinary medicine it is astonishing that it has attracted so little interest within the profession.

The principle of voodoo healing is simple.  As 'like affects like', an appropriately manufactured and treated wax doll or cloth puppet may substitute for the patient, and manipulations performed on the doll substitute for those performed on the patient.  Techniques of visualisation and channelling of healing are easy to learn, and it is possible to combine voodoo with 'conventional' or allopathic medicine simply by administering the medicine to the doll rather than to the patient.

In addition, just as our homoeopathic colleagues have extended their interest to the field of Contagious Magic (radionics and related subjects), voodoo may be extended in the same direction.  The image may be identified with its subject by the embedding of ousia - items connected with the subject such as a hair or nail clipping, or even a blood sample.  This greatly enhances the therapeutic effects of voodoo procedures, and in particular allows the practice of voodoo at considerable distances from the patient, even over the telephone or the Internet.

Voodoo has much to commend it in veterinary practice:

Client acceptability.  As magical thinking is a fundamental attribute of human cognition (touching wood, not walking under ladders, Friday the 13th etc.), voodoo ideas instinctively resonate with the client, who seldom has any difficulty in accepting their 'natural healing' potential.

Potential for profit.  Materials to make dolls are inexpensive, and beeswax may be reused on multiple occasions.  Even where pharmaceuticals are employed, the amount required to influence a puppet is considerably less than the dose for a large dog or a farm animal, leaving a far greater profit margin than in conventional medicine.

Safety.  As the remedy or healing manipulation is applied to the doll rather than to the patient, the danger of side-effects or adverse effects is obviously eliminated.  In addition, operator safety is clearly much enhanced, as there is little or no risk of being scratched, bitten or kicked by a doll!

Scientific credibility.  Clinical trials are still in their early stages, however we are confident that by performing a sufficient number of small, poorly-controlled investigations we will easily generate enough p<0.05 outcomes to be able to claim with absolute assurance that the method is well proven by properly conducted double-blind research.

Faith-based practice.  Voodoo has recently achieved recognition as an official religion in Haiti.

Aims of the Society

  1. To achieve a specialist listing for Voodoo practitioners in the RCVS Register.  The syllabus and examination are now available for members wishing to work towards the the the diploma of VetMFVoo and the Fellowship award of VetFFVoo, to the standard approved by the Holistic Health Academy.  We are confident of achieving specialist listing for holders of these prestigious accolades.
  2. To achieve recognition as a Specialist Division by the BVA.  Sadly, there is at present no indication that the BVA, unlike the RCVS, is supportive of magical systems of medicine.  However, should there ever be any suggestion that the Association is becoming open to the concept of embracing magical thinking within the Specialist Divisions, the BVVS will immediately apply for recognition.
  3. To achieve equal academic representation for Voodoo Medicine in all UK veterinary schools in which other branches of Sympathetic Magic are taught within the undergraduate course.

Application for Membership of the BVVS

I, ......................................... MRCVS / FRCVS* undertake to advance the cause of Voodoo Medicine in every situation where magical thinking is accepted as legitimate medical practice.  I further undertake to highlight the issues of listing in the RCVS Register, BVA Specialist Divisional status and undergraduate education in Sympathetic Magic to the best of my ability.
* delete as appropriate.

I undertake to pay the membership fee of 10p per annum, if demanded.

Signed ...............................................       Date .................................

Please print form and return to George Tribe or Morag Kerr, c/o 6 Corfe Close, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 9XL, or email details to


FRAZER, J. G. (1922)  Sympathetic Magic.  Ch. 3 of The Golden Bough, a Study in Magic and Religion, 4th edn.  Public domain text, several editions in print.

LAMBERT, M. (1998)  Review of Magic in the Ancient World, by F. Graf.  Scholia Reviews, 18:7.

SOPHISTES, A. (1996)  Construction and use of ancient Greek poppets.  In Biblioteka Arcana, University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

STEVENS, P. (2001)  Magical thinking in complementary and alternative medicine.  Skeptical Inquirer, 25:6.

When things are exceedingly laughable, it is a little unreasonable to demand of us an imperturbable gravity.  (Prizewinning critique of homoeopathy, Rhode Island Medical Society, 1851.)

Internal links
Keeping an open mind: the research

Keeping an open mind: the theory

Homoeopathy and science

Medicine and magic

History of the BVVS


Academic Departments

Case reports

Regulatory concerns

Complaints Department

Letters from the Veterinary Times

Critical review of BBC2 Horizon programme
External links
Web sites
The Task Force for Veterinary Science

(mainly human medicine)

"Hahnemann's Homeopathy"

What Alternative Health Practitioners might not tell you

The Quack-Files
(includes an excellent research summary)
Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division
(peripheral relevance, but far too funny not to mention!)

Individual articles
Homeopathy and its Founder

Alternative Medicine and the Laws of Physics

Veterinary Medicine and the Philosophy of Science

Magical Thinking in Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Magic of Signs: a non-local interpretation of homeopathy

The Scientific Evidence on Homeopathy
(veterinary article)

Critical thinking, Homoeopathy and Veterinary Medicine
(veterinary article)

Is Homeopathy 'New Science' or 'New Age'?

Homeopathy and its Kindred Delusions
(article from 1842)

Good clean fun
(well, fun, anyway)

All the idiocy that fits

Another article

And another article

I am succussed and diluted

Homeopathy, and what it's really worth

The Improbable Science Page

No fun at all
British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons

Homeopathic Professionals Teaching Group

The Faculty of Homeopaths

Bizarre, but educational
The Provings of New Homoeopathic Remedies

Otherhealth (formerly Homeopathy Home)

Homeopathy Forums

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