It has been said by Sir Isaac Newton and the 12th century theologian John of Salisbury that we see further because we stand on the shoulders of giants. Chris Day, one of the homeopathic giants upon whose shoulders many have stood, passed away this year on April 18th. It is then up to us to continue the good work we do, promoting homeopathic medicine in order that we serve animals (including human animals) and help them have better lives.
The following obituary by Ilse Pedlar, President of the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons, speaks for all of us. We publish this here with her kind permission.
Obituary Chris Day
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I am writing about the death of Chris Day. Chris passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday 18th April after a period of illness. His family and wife Shelagh were with him at the end.
Words seem inadequate to describe what Chris meant to veterinary homeopathy in the UK and in fact worldwide. There can be few homeopathic vets that haven’t been inspired or influenced by him during our own homeopathic journeys. He qualified from Cambridge Veterinary School in 1972 having already been introduced to homeopathy by his German Uncle who was a Doctor, and his mother who used it in the family veterinary practice in Stanford-in-Vale. After qualifying, he worked for a mixed practice in Lancashire for a year, before returning to the family practice where he started to put his knowledge of homeopathy to use. Chris eventually took over the practice from his parents and it became the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre. It was a ground breaking practice where a holistic approach and the use of homeopathy was at the centre of all that he did. He spread the word about homeopathy enthusiastically and energetically, giving hundreds of talks to the general public. In 1982, he was one of the founder members of the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary surgeons (BAHVS), where he was secretary for over thirty years, and President from 2017 to 2020. In the early 1980’s he became involved with the Faculty of Homeopathy and oversaw the admission of veterinary surgeons and the creation of the veterinary training course. In 1984, his book The Homeopathic Treatment of Small Animals was published; now in its third edition it is still one of the best introductory books on the subject. In 1986 he was a founding member of the International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy and played a leading role in its development and in 1995 he became leader of the veterinary course at the Homeopathic Physicians Teaching Group (HPTG), which was responsible for teaching a whole new generation of homeopathic vets.
Chris’s death really does mark the end of an era for veterinary homeopathy in the UK. He was a truly unique individual: passionate, determined, forthright in his views, a man of a piercing intellect and capacious intelligence who helped bring homeopathy into modern veterinary practice and who inspired the next generation of vets by giving them the confidence to practise homeopathy in their own ways. Chris lived and breathed homeopathy; in his early years in practice, he must have felt a lone voice at times championing the work that he loved and challenging his conventional colleagues. He was unwavering in his belief and commitment to his work and achieved extraordinary results. Chris became well known for his work and had a huge number of loyal clients. He was always interested in their stories and had a patience and kindness around animals that was clear to see.
In 2017 the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons changed their position statement on CAM, making it more difficult for vets to practice homeopathy as a first line treatment. Chris was outraged at the decision and threw himself into the campaign to get the statement reversed; exploring legal routes, letter writing and joining the protest marches to the RCVS headquarters. He arrived at the first march wearing a T-shirt over his shirt and tie that read ‘Homeopaths do it Naturally’ and when we were invited in to talk to the president of the RCVS, he sat with his jacket open clearly enjoying the discomfort he was causing. He was certainly never afraid of being different or of standing up for his views.
At this time, as we are all reeling from the shock of his death, the world does seem a lesser place without him, but the dreadful sense of loss is tempered by the knowledge that he will continue to guide us in the legacy he left with his work and his teaching and he will always be a presence in our lives. It would give him the greatest of pleasures to see homeopathy grow and flourish, so we shall continue by taking courage from his example and go on spreading the word as he did throughout his life.