Intersecting social justice issues and the discourse on use of animal parts and products in traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines

Bronwen Morrell1

1 Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, Level 1, Medical Foundation Building, K25, University of Sydney, NSW 2006

As Grzanka et al. argued recently in the American Journal of Bioethics, intersectional approaches to issues of inequality can facilitate the work of bioethics by highlighting the ways in which multiple forms of oppression, such as those based on race, class, and gender, are entangled and co-constitutive [1]. Intersectional approaches have already been taken up within the field of animal ethics to consider the ways in which race and species based oppressions, for example, overlap, intersect, and are mutually reinforcing. In this presentation I will present results from my PhD research on the ethics of animal use in traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine. In this work I consider the social justice issues that arise both for animals and for cultural others in the discourse on use of animal parts and products in medicinal systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, and Western Complementary Medicines, as well as the social justice issues that arise from efforts to limit or prohibit such practices.

[1] Grzanka, PR. J. Dyck Brian, and J.K. Shim. 2016. My bioethics will be intersectional orit will be [bleep]. American Journal of Bioethics 16(4): 27–29.


Bronwen Morrell is an NHMRC PhD Candidate at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine. Her areas of interest include animal ethics, environmental ethics, complementary and alternative medicine, and cross-cultural ethics.

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The Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law (AABHL) was formed in 2009.

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