Almost 100 thousand signatures to save alpaca Geronimo from being killed

A black alpaca from his side with a blue sky behind.
Alpaca, photo: Fallbrook via Canva

Almost a hundred thousand people have signed the petition “Save Geronimo – Stop killing healthy alpacas without valid science” in England.

The government decided that the male alpaca must be killed after testing positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB). Geronimo was born in New Zealand and has been in England since 2016.

His owner, Helen Macdonald, is a veterinary nurse and has an alpaca farm in Gloucestershire in western England. She’s fighting to prevent the murder of her alpaca, who she says is healthy.

Bovine tuberculosis is a chronic, primarily respiratory infectious disease. Symptoms could be weight loss, fever and a persistent cough.

False-positive results
MacDonald says that the positive test results were incorrect because the tuberculin injections given to Geronimo since he arrived in England can produce false-positive results for bovine tuberculosis.

She wants Geronimo to be re-tested using a different diagnostic tool. So far, the alpaca has gotten two blood tests which MacDonald says are unreliable.

MacDonald also claims that no trials have been done on alpacas to test the accuracy of the bovine tuberculosis tests carried out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

“If he’s willing to kill a healthy animal in front of the whole world without testing him properly first, then it’s a sorry state of affairs,” Macdonald told PA news agency, referring to Environment Secretary George Eustice.

Eustice has insisted the ministry uses “a highly specific and reliable test”, and Geronimo must be killed.

Killing of Geronimo
Macdonald said a High Court judge last month dismissed her appeal and upheld DEFRA’s verdict of “the suspicion of disease”.

The court issued a warrant for the killing of Geronimo within 30 days of August 5. MacDonald hopes Eustice will overturn the verdict and spare the alpaca.

But on Sunday, Eustice insisted that the decision to kill the alpaca is valid and that it must be done.

Macdonald has vowed to “stand in the way of any gunman who comes to destroy Geronimo” and accused Eustice of telling “total lies”.

So far, 94,000 people have signed the petition to save him.

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