Geronimo the alpaca has been killed in England

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

The male alpaca Geronimo has been killed on Tuesday bythe Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in England.

Defra officers, escorted by police, put a rope around the small animal and dragged him to their car. In a BBC video, the animal is seen jumping to try to break free from the officers.

“Please don’t execute Geronimo,” his owner, Helen Macdonald, pleaded in her last tweet.

According to Defra, Geronimo has bovine tuberculosis and needs to be killed, but Macdonald argued that Geronimo is healthy, and the tests gave false-positive results. She asked for a different way of testing, specific for alpacas.

More than 140,000 people supported MacDonald and signed the petition ‘Save Geronimo, Stop killing healthy alpacas without valid science’.

Geronimo was born in New Zealand and had been in England since 2016.

MacDonald, a veterinary nurse who runs an alpaca farm in Gloucestershire in western England, said 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 wanted Geronimo to be re-tested using a different diagnostic tool. So far, the alpaca had gotten two blood tests which MacDonald said were unreliable.

MacDonald also claimed that no trials had been done on alpacas to test the accuracy of the bovine tuberculosis tests carried out by 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.

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