BackAlick Simmons | Badgers, BSE, and wild animal welfare
Alick Simmons | Badgers, BSE, and wild animal welfare
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Alick Simmons | Badgers, BSE, and wild animal welfare

Alick Simmons is a veterinarian, naturalist and photographer with a particular interest in the ethics of wild animal management and welfare. After a period in private practice, he began a notable 35-year career as a Government veterinarian. He was Veterinary Director at the Food Standards Agency between 2003 and 2007 and was then appointed Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer of Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). During an eventful life in government, he was heavily involved in the control of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and was key in decisions made around eradicating bovine tuberculosis (or Btb) which lead to the start of the government’s current badger culling strategy. Charlie Moores met up with Alick at his home in rural Somerset. The following conversation looks at his early life, his career, BSE and the badger cull, his love of wildlife, his current views on animal welfare and disease control, and how a scientist used to working with data and statistics deals with ethical considerations involving sentience and the ‘value’ we put on wild animals. (Photo Alick Simmons in Morocco, March 2019)