Seminar Series: One Health, One Ethic? Confronting the disunity of ethical oversight for human and nonhuman animal research by Rebecca Walker, PhD

Monday, Dec 11, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Bloomberg School of Public Health Room W1030
615 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD

The COVID-19 pandemic and global climate crisis each underscore how health is interconnected across species. The One Health movement aims to leverage these sites of mutual impact for shared benefit. Such benefit depends also on testing and developing health interventions using both human and nonhuman animal subjects. Yet, as some public health advocates and practitioners embrace a unified view of health, the ethical systems of research oversight have lagged. Human and nonhuman animal studies are managed through divergent oversight systems functioning under distinct ethical principles. While typically unquestioned, employing disunified ethical systems to guide research is conceptually remarkable. This talk critically assesses key potential justifications for this disunity in ethical oversight.

Rebecca Walker is a professor of social medicine and of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a philosopher of medicine, her work addresses animal ethics, health justice, genomic ethics, and bioethics concepts and methodologies. She has published widely in prominent bioethics, science, philosophy, and medicine journals and her co-edited books include Working Virtue: Virtue Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems (2007); Understanding Health Inequalities and Justice (2016); and the two volume Social Medicine Reader (2019). Her monograph Of Mice and Primates: Virtue Ethics and Animal Research is forthcoming. More information is available at: