Geronimo the alpaca lives another day: Execution deadline passes but no sign of Defra

·2-min read
Helen Macdonald with Geronimo at her farm in South Gloucestershire (PA Wire)
Helen Macdonald with Geronimo at her farm in South Gloucestershire (PA Wire)

The deadline for Geronimo the alpaca’s owner to arrange his execution passed on Friday night with no sign of government officers gaining entry to his bio-secure pen.

His owner Helen MacDonald was given the deadline of 5pm to euthanise the animal after she lost a last-ditch High Court bid to save his life.

It follows a 24-hour reprieve granted to the alpaca on Thursday when a group of supporters kept vigil at Geronimo’s farm in an attempt to deter government killers from entering.

Ms MacDonald previously said she was “not prepared” to arrange his death and now faces a dramatic showdown with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) if the group comes to carry out the killing.

She said: “I’m not prepared to do that, he’s a healthy animal.

“As a registered veterinary nurse, it goes against everything I know, believe and am signed up to.”

Speaking to The Guardian, she added: “I’m still standing, that’s just about the best I can say. It’s agony, to be honest. Mental torture.”

A live webcam overlooked the alpaca’s pen to ensure members of the public around the world will see the moment Defra try to enter to enforce the destruction.

As of 6.20pm, Geronimo appeared to be alive and well in his pen and there had been so sign of any Defra officials on the farm.

Ms MacDonald said supporters are at her farm in Wickwar, South Gloucestershire to offer resistance.

“If they turn up, we will do what we said we were going to do, which is defend ourselves to the best of our ability without breaking the law,” she said.

“If they want to shoot a healthy alpaca in front of the world, good luck to them, but we will do our best to defend him.”

Geronimo, who was imported to the UK from New Zealand, has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis. He faces a destruction order.

Ms Macdonald believed the tests have been returning false positives and she has been refused permission to carry out a third test.

She called on the government to “sort it like grown-ups” while more than 130,000 people have signed a petition calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to halt the killing.

Meanwhile, vet Iain McGill told The Independent: “We’ve got lots of data from alpacas that have been killed after having false positives and they haven’t got TB at all at post-mortem.”

Earlier this month, Ms Macdonald lost her final appeal to save Geronimo and a warrant for his destruction was signed.

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