The third session of the AMIS panel series, chaired by Professor Clare Chandler, looks at how we might consider antibiotics beyond humans. Professor Steve Hinchliffe, Dr Claas Kirchhelle, Dr Salla Sariolla and Rijul Kochhar draw on their research conducted in Bangladesh, India, West Africa, Georgia and the UK to reflect upon food production and attend to the microbiopolitics of therapy, including the potential ‘techno scientific salvation’ offered by phage.

Their accounts of aquaculture, livestock and poultry farming in different settings describe entanglements of economic margins, time pressures, climate unpredictability, sanitation systems, veterinary advice, supply chains and the regulatory environment. Against this complex backdrop – sometimes comprising of a ‘stacking of lacks’ – narrowly focussed, short-term stewardship interventions can have limited and/or unintended impacts on antibiotic use.

The panellists reflect upon techniques of food production intensification, and the value and organising work of diagnostics. The expertise of those caring for animals is illustrated, and its dismissal in diagnosing animal ill-health is questioned. Attending to devices and the ways that they arrange the world around them is proposed as a fruitful line of inquiry that decentres not only humans but also the concept of behaviour. Another proposed avenue by which to better understand antibiotics use is for social researchers to attend to supply chains and the roles of multinational corporations in food production.