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Owner of Geronimo accuses Government of ‘murdering a perfectly healthy animal’

T

he owner of Geronimo the alpaca has accused Government vets of “murdering a perfectly healthy animal”, days before a warrant for his destruction expired.

Police officers and staff from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) arrived at Helen Macdonald’s farm near Wickwar, south Gloucestershire at 10.45am on Tuesday.

Campaigners, who had been camped out at the property for weeks, loudly protested as the Defra staff – wearing overalls, masks and goggles – rounded up the alpaca in his enclosure.

Geronimo, who has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, was tied with white rope before being scanned for a microchip then pulled through a field to a waiting trailer.

The trailer and police escort left the farm at 11.20am and by 12.40pm, Defra confirmed that the animal had been euthanised by staff from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha).

In a statement, Defra said that a court warrant – which was due to expire on September 4 – had been used to seize Geronimo from the farm and euthanise him.

Ms Macdonald insists that bovine tuberculosis tests previously carried out on the alpaca returned false positives and has been campaigning for his destruction to be halted.

She is now calling for an independent witness to be present when a post-mortem examination is carried out on Geronimo, who came to the UK from New Zealand in 2017.

The veterinary nurse described herself as “shocked and disgusted” at how the Government had acted and called for environment secretary George Eustice to come to her farm and give an explanation.

“They have murdered a perfectly healthy animal from New Zealand,” Ms Macdonald said.

“I wasn’t even here, they just stormed the place. They took him from here alive, they shouldn’t have done that – it was cruel.

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