Geronimo the alpaca has been put down, ending months of protests and legal battles over his fate.
-born alpaca, who was kept by his owner Helen McDonald on her south Gloucestershire farm, had twice tested positive for tuberculosis (TB). McDonald and her supporters claimed both tests had shown false positives, and forced a
into the decision to cull Geronimo.
“All the time they were simply planning to murder Geronimo,” a distraught McDonald said. “This is yet another appalling demonstration of bad faith and duplicity by the Secretary of State and everyone at Defra.”
“This is a terribly sad situation and our sympathies remain with all those affected by this devastating disease”, said Defra Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss.
“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 TB to minimise spread of this insidious disease and ultimately eradicate the biggest threat to animal health in this country”, Middlemiss added.
REUTERS / PETER NICHOLLS
The official said culling TB-infected livestock was vital not just to protecting the rural economy, but “also necessary to avoid more TB cases in humans”.
Officers from Avon and Somerset Police had to be brought in to seize Geronimo from the farm in the Wickwar area as activists prepared to act as “human shields” to protect him.
Geronimo’s supporters took to Twitter to vent their rage. Animal welfare campaigner Dominic Dyer claimed Defra killed Geronimo “in the back of a van”, writing: ”
I am ashamed of this nation today”.
Dr Iain McGill, who along with Dyer helped former Royal Marine Pen Farthing
evacuate over 150 cats and dogs
from the Afghan capital Kabul while people were left behind, called it a “PR apocalypse”.
Suspended Labour Party MP for the urban Leicester East seat Claudia Webbe tried to jump on the bandwagon too, reviving the nine-year-old issue of culling wild badgers to prevent the spread of bovine TB to cattle.
But earlier this month, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
putting Geronimo to sleep.