In critique of anthropocentrism: a more-than-human ethical framework for antimicrobial resistance
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is often framed as a One Health issue, premised on the interdependence between human, animal and environmental health. Despite this framing, the focus across policymaking, implementation and the ethics of AMR remains anthropocentric in practice, with human health taking priority over the health of non-human animals and the environment, both of which mostly appear as secondary elements to be adjusted to minimise impact on human populations. This perpetuates cross-sectoral asymmetries whereby human health institutions have access to bigger budgets and technical support, limiting the ability of agricultural, animal health or environmental institutions to effectively implement policy initiatives. In this article, we review these asymmetries from an ethical perspective. Through a review and analysis of contemporary literature on the ethics of AMR, we demonstrate how the ethical challenges and tensions raised still emerge from an anthropocentric framing, and argue that such literature fails to address the problematic health hierarchies that underlie policies and ethics of AMR.
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