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Conference Papers Year : 2018

New arrangements for an agroecological management of animal health. The case of French farmers learning homeopathy

Abstract

As a medicine reducing the use of antibiotics, homeopathy can be considered as a promising alternative in the perspective of agroecological transition. The medical efficiency of homeopathy remains debated and we do not intend here to contribute to this aspect of the debate. In this study we rather focus on the social arrangements that the use of homeopathy implies. Based on the study of a group of French farmers that emerged 20 years ago, we show how the practice of homeopathy contributes to new arrangements between farmers, veterinarians and animals. Since homeopathy focuses on the individual and not so much on the disease, the homeopathic veterinarian needs the farmer to know the animals and to treat them. Consequently, homeopathic care is based on strong partnerships, first between the farmers and their animals, and also between the veterinarian and the farmer. Farmers have to be very attentive and engaged in a close relationship with their animals, while developing a collaborative relation with their veterinarian. Then, as the farmers are the ones who know their animals the better and as there is no need of prescription to buy homeopathy, farmers become more autonomous concerning the management of animal health, that is to say less dependent of the veterinarians. To improve their autonomy , some farmers, a veterinarian and an extension agent worked together for many years. They initiated several collective activities in order to develop their competences in homeopathy: a training course organized by the ex tension agent, a collective publication about the use of homeopathy by the farmers and veterinarian, evening- meetings between farmers. This collective dynamic also manifest through a mutual support network that functions when farmers face problems with their flock. Through oral exchanges and written notes about their experiments and experience, they produce a panel of reference, which help the members of the group to create its own experience of homeopathy. Thus, homeopathy medicine and knowledge becomes not only reserved for the veterinarian it is also accessible to farmers. This study shows how the practice and learning of homeopathy reshapes classical social arrangements by giving an important place to the farmers in the management of animal health and balancing the habitual power-based relationships between veterinarians, farmers and animals.
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Dates and versions

hal-02738229 , version 1 (02-06-2020)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-02738229 , version 1
  • PRODINRA : 435567

Cite

Louis Renier, Aurélie Cardona, Elisabeth Lécrivain. New arrangements for an agroecological management of animal health. The case of French farmers learning homeopathy. 13. European IFSA Symposium, Jul 2018, Chania, Crete, Greece. ⟨hal-02738229⟩
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