Owner loses last court case to save alpaca Geronimo

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

The male alpaca Geronimo will be killed, an English judge ruled on Wednesday. The alpaca tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, but his owner, Helen Macdonald, says he’s healthy, and the tests gave false-positive results.

More than 130,000 people signed the petition “Save Geronimo – Stop killing healthy alpacas without valid science”. They want the government to spare the alpaca.

Geronimo was born in New Zealand and has been in England since 2016. Earlier, a court had issued a warrant for the killing of Geronimo within 30 days of August 5.

MacDonald, a veterinary nurse who runs an alpaca farm in Gloucestershire in western England, 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).

Macdonald took the government to court in her last attempt to save Geronimo from death.

But a High Court judge in London refused to grant a temporary injunction that would have stopped the order to kill the animal.

The government said it would give Macdonald time to arrange the killing of Geronimo.

“There are no plans to execute the warrant today,” said a government spokesman. “We are sympathetic to Ms Macdonald’s situation, just as we are with everyone with animals affected by this terrible disease.

MacDonald has vowed to stand in the way of government vets who are coming to kill Geronimo.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley, called the planned cull “absurd” and a “murderous errand”.

Environment Secretary George Eustice, a former farmer, said he sympathises with Macdonald, but he maintained the ministry uses a “highly specific and reliable test” and Geronimo must be killed.


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