The Emperor’s New Clothes—An Epistemological Critique of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Acupuncture
CIISA—Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon, 1300-477 Lisboa, Portugal
Ordem dos Médicos Veterinários, Av. Filipe Folque, 10J, 4º Dto., 1050-113 Lisboa, Portugal
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 15 April 2019
Complementary and alternative medicines have gained increased popularity in the veterinary field. Among them, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, including acupuncture, has emerged as one of the main alternatives to conventional veterinary medicine. This paper relies upon an epistemological approach to investigate conceptual, historical and scientific assertions about veterinary acupuncture made by their advocates. Argument by analogy is used to demonstrate that Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine is based on pre-scientific principles, similar to those of humoral medicine and bloodletting, and that acupuncture is, in effect, a placebo. The paper concludes with recommendations for veterinary regulators and colleagues.