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Towards an interspecies health policy

Great apes and the right to health

J. Nieuwland
13 May 2020
The publication in Open Access

One Health calls for cross-disciplinary collaboration in health policy out of a recognition of interdependency between human and non-human animal health against the backdrop of ecological processes. As a new perspective on health policy, it lacks sufficient engagement with justice. A moral right to health is proposed as a means to instill justice in One Health thought and practice. This act itself prompts a reevaluation of such a moral right from both an ecological and interspecies perspective. The thesis follows up on the Great Ape Project (GAP) by setting off from human rights as well as highlighting morally relevant similarities shared amongst human and non-human primates, to then question inherent anthropocentrism.

The right to health complements the set of basic negative rights defended by GAP. It does so by developing an interest-based theory of moral rights in line with the work of Alasdair Cochrane, albeit (1) critical of his denial of animal freedom, and (2) more elaborate on the right to health. These rights are brought to bear on the various interfaces between human and non-human great apes, using One Health as a framework for integrating apparently disconnected practices, so as to work towards an interspecies health policy.

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