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This issue of the Journal of Medical covers a range of ethical issues and care settings making the task of beginning to summarise these papers challenging. They reflect the diversity of our field, representing different branches of bioethics focussing on specific areas or topics using a variety of methodologies: but how do we categorise these branches of bioethics? What demarks one branch from another? And what function do such categorisations fulfil? From the early days of medical ethics we now have a growing proliferation of different branches, from those with a more specific focus: clinical ethics, global ethics, nursing ethics, public health ethics for example, to a widening out, in terms of bioethics becoming the broader usage and medical ethics sitting within that. More recently, a new area of ethical focus has arisen, One Health, the subject of Johnson and Degeling’s article in this issue. They define One Health as follows: ‘One Health is generally construed as an integrated approach to understanding and managing disease. Although primarily associated with the prevention and control of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the approach is also relevant to dealing with endemic and zoonotic animal diseases, as well as securing food safety. In its most comprehensive form, it extends to fostering the health of humans, animals and their shared environments.’
This raises, in many ways, a different set of ethical concerns from those usually encountered in bioethics and medical ethics and this leads Johnson and Degeling to ask whether One Health merits having its own ‘ethical framework’. They use ethical frameworks in two senses: as value neutral deliberative tools and as embodying values, and consider how each usage could be applied in One Health. In terms of the first usage they state: ‘When ethical frameworks are regarded as a procedural tool then, the One Health perspective can broaden …
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