Geronimo the alpaca killed by government vets ‘to prevent spread of TB’ with police escorting animal from farm

A livestream from the farm showed police officers escorting the animal from its enclosure before being euthanised

Geronimo the alpaca has been put down by government vets.

The animal was rounded-up on Tuesday morning before being loaded into a trailer, which then left the farm near Wickwar, South Gloucestershire.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • Police entered Geronimo’s pen at the farm with their actions broadcast on an online live feed of the enclosure. Other alpacas, which are not in the same pen, gathered nearby when the commotion started before running off to another part of the farm.
  • Defra said Geronimo was euthanised by staff from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in order to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis.
  • Geronimo had twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and a destruction warrant has been ordered for the animal
  • However, owner Helen Macdonald believed the tests had returned false positives
  • Thousands of members of the public also backed her plea to halt his culling, with scores of campaigners protesting at the farm against the destruction.

What’s been said

“It’s obviously highly distressing for someone to lose animals to TB and that’s a situation that farmers sadly have to face.

“Our sympathies are with Ms Macdonald and any others that are affected by this terrible disease.”

Prime Minister’s official spokesman

“This is a terribly sad situation and our sympathies remain with all those affected by this devastating disease.

“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 bTB to minimise spread of this insidious disease and ultimately eradicate the biggest threat to animal health in this country.

“Not only is this essential to protect the livelihoods of our farming industry and rural communities, but it is also necessary to avoid more TB cases in humans.”

Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss

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