By Laura Kemp •
Published: 10 Dec 2021 • 15:02
The owner of Geronimo, the alpaca who was put down after a four-year legal battle because of disputes that he had bovine tuberculosis, is considering suing the government.
Government vets put Geronimo to death in August, in a battle that gripped the nation. However, post-mortem examinations carried out on the animal have found no trace of the disease.
Geronimo’s owner Helen Macdonald, 50, insisted that he was not infected and launched a campaign to save him from death.
After losing the lengthy battle, officials dragged Geronimo from Helen’s farm near Wickwar, Gloucestershire, and killed him.
Tests carried out on the alpaca in September came back inconclusive and there were no lesions found on his lungs or respiratory tract – the most common place they are exhibited in an animal with the disease.
However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) claimed its vets found a “number of TB-like lesions” in the animal’s liver and lymph nodes.
The latest results have been finalised this week and no traces of the disease were found.
Helen has previously called on Environment Secretary George Eustice to resign, accusing him of “murdering an innocent animal” and accusing the government of manipulating results.
She has always disputed the results, however, the legal battle ended with a decision that the alpaca would be destroyed.
Leading vets had demanded the Environment Secretary “commute Geronimo’s death sentence” so he could be studied instead of slaughtered.
Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “This animal tested positive for bovine tuberculosis on two separate occasions using highly specific tests. Due to the complexity of the disease, further testing has not enabled us to use Whole Genome Sequencing to try to understand how the animal became infected in the first place.”
“Our sympathies remain with all those with animals affected by this terrible disease which devastates farmers’ livelihoods. It is important to remember that infected animals can spread the disease to both animals and people before displaying clinical signs, which is why we take action quickly to limit the risk of the disease spreading.”
“We are grateful for the cooperation of livestock farmers to allow this to happen.”
Helen said in a statement on ITV News this afternoon, December 10, that she will continue campaigning to make sure this does not happen again.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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