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UK News

Geronimo the alpaca will be slaughtered after owner loses High Court bid to save him

today18/08/2021

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An alpaca called Geronimo, which twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, will have to be slaughtered, the High Court has ruled.

The animal’s owner had been appealing to save him, believing the tests were returning false positives.

Helen Macdonald has been refused permission to have the animal tested a third time – but the court concluded there was “no prospect” of success in her bid to overturn an earlier ruling.

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Geronimo the alpaca: Owner says government ‘just wants to kill him’

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says she will not have to destroy Geronimo today.

Ms Macdonald lost her final appeal at the High Court earlier this month and a warrant was issued for the alpaca to be euthanised.

More than 130,000 people have signed a petition calling on the prime minister to halt the killing, which has sparked a public outcry.

Ms Macdonald, who owns a farm at Wickwar near Bristol, imported Geronimo from New Zealand in 2017.

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An urgent application for a temporary injunction to stop the enforcement of the destruction order was considered by the High Court yesterday – but the judge said she needed more information from Ms Macdonald and from government lawyers before she could make her decision.

The hearing was adjourned until today, when Mrs Justice Stacey refused the application.

Geronimo the alpaca at Shepherds Close Farm in Wooton Under Edge, Gloucestershire. A court is due to decide whether Geornimo can be granted a stay of execution from his destruction in order for further evidence to be produced. Helen Macdonald, the owner of Geronimo - who has twice tested positive for bovine TB - has lodged an urgent application for a temporary injunction at the High Court in London to prevent her beloved pet being put down. Picture date: Wednesday August 18, 2021.
Image: Geronimo moved to the UK in 2017

Geronimo first tested positive for bovine tuberculosis in September 2017 and has been in isolation ever since, according to the owner’s lawyers.

Catrin McGahey QC said nine other animals who were subject to the same testing regime as Geronimo showed no signs of the disease after they were slaughtered, indicating a potential flaw in the tests.

She argued that Defra knew about this and had not disclosed the information, which came to light as a result of a recent Daily Mail investigation.

Helen Macdonald with Geronimo the alpaca at Shepherds Close Farm in Wooton Under Edge, Gloucestershire, after losing a last-ditch High Court bid to save him. The animal has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and, as a result, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has ordered its destruction. Picture date: Wednesday August 18, 2021.
Image: Helen Macdonald has argued that Geronimo’s tests are returning false positives

Mrs Justice Stacey said the farmer’s complaint about non-disclosure was a “disingenuous and backdoor way of seeking a further route to appeal” and did not give rise to an arguable case.

Ned Westaway, representing the Defra executive agency the Animal and Plant Health Agency, said Ms Macdonald would be given the opportunity to make her own arrangements for Geronimo’s destruction.

The government has insisted the testing results and options for Geronimo have been carefully considered.

Geronimo the alpaca
Image: Geronimo first tested positive for bovine tuberculosis in 2017

A Defra spokesperson said: “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 to tackle this disease to stop it spreading and to protect the livelihoods of those affected.”

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News


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today18/08/2021