The adoption of homeopathy in small Brazilian dairy farms.
To investigate the motivations of family farmers to adopt or not homeopathy as a therapeutic tool, semi-structured interviews were carried out in 20 dairy farms in Antonio Prado and Ipê, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Among the farmers that used homeopathy, its degree of adoption was determined by subjective factors like previous experience with its use in the family members, the production of organic milk, a desire to avoid poisons and the influence of neighbor farmers. The lack of information among the farmers on the efficacy of the homeopathic medicines was a contributing factor for the rejection of homeopathy for some, and seems to have led others to discontinue its use during the first months of trial. For the same reason many users restricted its use to the prevention of a few diseases, ignoring that the health status of the herds treated with homeopathy was comparable to the conventionally treated herds. To help in a successful transition from conventional to alternative veterinary medicine systems and to avoid homeopathy from being used only in the prevention of a few diseases, programs that aim at supporting the transition to homeopathy as a main therapeutic option must include specialized veterinary assistance and incorporate methodologies that lead to a higher confidence and commitment of farmers.