Sunday, 7 Aug 2022

Geronimo the alpaca to be killed after owner loses last-ditch appeal to save him

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Geronimo the alpaca will be slaughtered despite his his owner's last-ditch attempt to save him.

Helen Macdonald took his death sentence all the way to the High Court in a bid to challenge the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) decision to destroy him.

Geronimo had twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis but Helen, who imported him from New Zealand, argued the tests were returning false positives.

As Helen fought for her alpaca's survival, it was investigated whether Defra had not disclosed evidence relating to the testing regime used to test Geronimo and other camelids.

But, in a ruling on Wednesday, Mrs Justice Stacey refused to grant injunctions to spare the alpaca and for further disclosure – signalling the end of the road for Geronimo and his owner.

Ms Macdonald has been told by Defra's lawyers that she has time to say her goodbyes to Geronimo and make her own arrangements for his destruction.

An outpouring of public support for Geronimo who lives at Shepherds Close Farm in Wooton Under Edge, Gloucestershire, urged Boris Johnson to step in and halt the killing.

On Monday a Defra spokesman said: "There are no plans to execute the warrant today.

"We are sympathetic to Ms Macdonald's situation, just as we are with everyone with animals affected by this terrible disease.

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"It is for this reason that the testing results and options for Geronimo have been very carefully considered by Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and its veterinary experts, as well as passing several stages of thorough legal scrutiny.

"Bovine tuberculosis is one of the greatest animal health threats we face today and causes devastation and distress for farming families and rural communities across the country while costing the taxpayer around £100 million every year.

"Therefore, while nobody wants to cull infected animals, we need to do everything we can tackle this disease to stop it spreading and to protect the livelihoods of those affected."

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  • Animals
  • Courts

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