Alpaca at centre of TB legal fight put down

Alpaca at centre of TB legal fight put down

Geronimo the alpaca. who was at the centre of a legal row with the government, has been put down.

Having twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, and the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs ordered him to be euthanised and now owner Helen Macdonald’s legal fight to save him is at an end.

The veterinary nurse from Wickwar, near Bristol, said “I am absolutely disgusted by this government. These are barbaric actions. It’s a disgrace

“We know now they have been stringing us along for the last week, fobbing us off by saying people are on holiday and would get back to us this week.

“In fact, all the time they were simply planning to murder Geronimo. This is yet another appalling demonstration of bad faith and duplicity by the secretary of state and everyone at Defra.”

‘Highly distressing’

Ms McDonald spoke out after Defra staff dressed in overalls, goggles and masks, arrived with police at her farm on Tuesday, August 31.

A spokesman confirmed the destruction warrant had been carried out after Geronimo was taken away  and loaded into a trailer.

Supporters at the farm vented their anger towards police  and it was reported that one woman was briefly arrested after spraying officers with a water pistol, but was quickly de-arrested.

A Downing Street  spokesman 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.”

Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss added that while it was “terribly sad” Defra officials had no other choice.

She said: “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.

“No one wants to have to cull infected animals if it can be avoided.”

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