From more-than-human solidarity to multi-species biographical value: insights from a veterinary school about ethical dilemmas in One Health promotion
2020 Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness This article features a partnership between a veterinary school and a charity that aims to enhance the wellbeing of low-income people. Through this partnership, the charity periodically hosts veterinary clinics for clients and their pets. Even as the veterinarians and veterinary students duly examine people's pets, these pop-up clinics aim to help people and their pets. Hence our analysis revolves around the ethics of 'more-than-human solidarity'. By 'more-than-human solidarity', we mean efforts to help others that either center on or that implicate non-human beings. To delve into the ethical and sociological implications of subsidised veterinary services, and to assist with program planning, we conducted several in-depth interviews with veterinarians. Most substantively, we found that the veterinary school's outreach clinics give rise to multi-species biographical value, which is prized as a pedagogical resource for veterinary students. The veterinarians whom we interviewed felt troubled by the extent to which the pop-up clinics ultimately benefited the veterinary school, but also by the shortage of subsidised veterinary services in the vicinity. Based on these interviews and our own reflections, we invite more scholarship on cultural, economic and political influences that shape the lives of human beings and non-human animals alike.