Dogs, cats and other pets can now be treated again by everyone with certain homeopathic remedies that are actually made for humans. The Federal Constitutional Court partially annulled a provision that came into force in January, according to which this was reserved exclusively for veterinarians. The judges in Karlsruhe announced on Wednesday that the associated encroachment on freedom of occupation and freedom of action was not proportionate.
Four animal health practitioners who had been treating dogs and cats, but also horses and some small animals in their own practices for many years, had complained. For their therapeutic approach of classical homeopathy, there are no remedies specifically for animals. They had therefore worked with human homeopathic medicinal products that require registration but do not require a prescription.
Until recently, that wasn't a problem either. The so-called veterinarian reservation is provided for the first time in the newly enacted Veterinary Drugs Act. The law implemented EU requirements. But this particular point goes beyond that. Since then, the women had practically no longer been able to practice.
Professional end threatened
According to the constitutional judges, this goes too far. "The use of registered human homeopathic medicinal products does not pose any risk to animal, human or environmental health with regard to their ingredients - regardless of whether they are used with or without medical advice and supervision," they write.
The legislature is pursuing a legitimate purpose with the regulation: "Animals should be protected from physical pain, suffering and damage caused by incorrect diagnoses and incorrect treatment by non-medical persons." However, this does not go with the fact that the use of animal homeopathic medicines and other alternative healing methods is still permitted without the involvement of a veterinarian.
The judges suggest, for example, introducing an obligation to prove veterinary knowledge. This could reduce the likelihood that animal welfare concerns would be compromised. In the case of the veterinarian reservation, however, the extent of the burden on the holders of fundamental rights is "no longer in reasonable proportion to the benefits accruing to the common good".
The regulation had expressly also applied to pet owners. The First Senate also declared this to be disproportionate to one of the two constitutional complaints. One of the plaintiffs also keeps dogs and horses privately, which she treats with human homeopathic remedies according to her therapeutic methods, if necessary.
However, part of the rule remains in place. Only the free use of non-prescription and registered human homeopathic medicines in animals that are not used for food production is allowed again. (Az. 1 BvR 2380/21 and others)