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HomeUK NewsGeronimo the alpaca killed by government 'to prevent spread of disease'

Geronimo the alpaca killed by government ‘to prevent spread of disease’

The alpaca was put down after being taken from its farm in Gloucestershire, days before a warrant ordering its death was set to expire

Geronimo the alpaca has been put down by vets under orders from the government.

The animal was put down after it was taken from its farm in Gloucestershire, days before a destruction warrant ordering for its death was set to expire on the 4th of September.

The alpaca had tested positive twice for bovine tuberculosis.

A statement by the government said that: “bTB-positive alpaca known as ‘Geronimo’ has been euthanised to prevent the spread of disease.”

Christine Middlemiss, the Chief veterinary officer, referred to the matter as a “terribly sad situation” and said that “our sympathies remain with all those affected by this devastating disease”.

She added that: “No one wants to have to cull infected animals if it can be avoided, but we need to follow the scientific evidence and cull animals that have tested positive for bTB to minimise spread of this insidious disease and ultimately eradicate the biggest threat to animal health in this country.

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“Not only is this essential to protect the livelihoods of our farming industry and rural communities, but it is also necessary to avoid more TB cases in humans.” 

Downing Street has expressed its sympathy for the animal, as well as Geronimo’s owner Helen MacDonald, who has been fighting to save the animal from being killed for the last four years.

The prime minister’s official spokesperson said: “It’s obviously highly distressing for someone to lose animals to TB, and that’s a situation that farmers sadly have to face.

“Our sympathies are with Ms Macdonald and any others that are affected by this terrible disease.”

Avon and Somerset Police officers had arrived at the site in Wickwar, South Gloucestershire, alongside three people who were dressed in blue overalls, masks and goggles, just before 11am.

The police force later confirmed that it was supporting the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in executing the court warrant.

Other alpacas present on the farm, which are not in the same pen, gathered nearby after the police officers arrived before running off to another part of the Gloustershire farm.

While officers were present, Ms MacDonald tweeted further pleas in order to try to save the animal.

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She posted: “DEFRA have arrived! We are asking once again for an urgent meeting with George Eustice. Please don’t execute Geronimo” and “@BorisJohnson STOP THIS NOW GERONIMO IS HEALTHY.”

Supporters o Ms MacDonald and Geronimo had been camping out at the farm for weeks in the event that officials from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) would arrive to destroy the animal.

Some spoke to police officers this morning. Liz Stacey was briefly arrested after spraying the officers with a water pistol, but she was then quickly de-arrested.

She told Sky News: “The police arrived in force. It was a totally disproportionate‚Ķ they were determined to carry out that this heinous crime, you know, there was no way that Geronimo had TB.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job :)

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