Alick Simmons spent most of his career in public service promoting animal and public health and welfare involving disease control at the national and international level. He has worked as a veterinarian in the UK, Belize and Australia and has completed technical missions on behalf of the EU and the UK in numerous countries.

Alick has extensive experience in epidemic disease risk assessment and management, public health particularly with zoonoses and in animal welfare and ethics. He served as the UK Government’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer (2007-2015) and the UK Food Standards Agency’s Veterinary Director (2004-2007).

In 2016 he chaired the British Veterinary Association’s Working Group on Brexit. He is a former chair of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare and the Humane Slaughter Association. He is chair of the Zoological Society of London’s Ethics Committee on Animal Research and a member of the Wild Animal Welfare Committee. He sits as an independent member of both the RSPB’s Ethics Advisory Committee and the National Trust’s Wildlife Management Advisory Group.

His book Treated Like Animals: Improving the Lives of the Creatures We Own, Eat and Use was published by Pelagic Publishing in 2023.

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Exotics or NTCAs: What should you call the ‘weird’ pets?

You may have heard us mention these types of animals on Veterinary Ramblings before: they include hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and many other small furry friends – often called ‘exotic’.

But why do we call them exotic? Is this term really accurate? And what does it mean for owners of these animals?

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