Food Ethics 3 (1-2):91-108 (2019)

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Abstract
The “One Health” initiative promises to combine different health-related issues concerning humans and animals in an overarching concept and in related practices to the benefit of both humans and animals. Far from dismissing One Health, this paper nevertheless argues that different veterinary interventions are determined by social practices and connected expectations and are, thus, hardly compliant with only one single conceptualization of health, as the One Health concept suggests. One Health relies on a naturalistic understanding of health focusing on similar bodies that show a similar etiology. However, logics, normativity, and practices exhibit differences when it comes to combatting infectious diseases, maintaining productivity of livestock animals or preventing companion animals from suffering. Therefore, drawing from Charles Rosenberg’s groundbreaking texts on framing disease, we suggest to conceive of health as dispersed in different frames. Thus, this paper proposes to interpret health as complex and multi-layered concept. We distinguish and introduce an objectivist, a functional, and a sentientistic frame of health. Instead of reducing the differential veterinary practices to one paradigmatic understanding, health is seen as a model case of Wittgenstein’s concept of family resemblance. Different and distinct perspectives on veterinary medicine show sufficient overlapping that allows for a common conceptualization, but there is not one single underlying logic suitable to understand and ethically reflect all veterinary interventions. This differentiability promises to reduce moral stress in veterinary professionals since it allows the interpretation of various, seemingly contradicting practices as dependent on multi-layered and socially determined scopes of responsibility.
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DOI 10.1007/s41055-019-00038-4
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