Geronimo the alpaca: Owner Helen MacDonald criticises Defra's actions as 'barbaric'

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Speaking at the farm today, Helen said: "These are barbaric actions of unscientific abusive people in government and tax payers are paying for this. "I'm absolutely devastated to report that Defra have taken Geronimo away by force this morning. They have refused to inform me where they are taking him. "As far as I understand Geronimo is still alive all alone in a trailer, heading somewhere absolutely terrified, taken from his herd where he has lived for four years. "Over the last two weeks we have tried to engage constructively and persistently with George Eustice, Lord Benyon, George Eustice's special advisors, senior Defra civil servants and multiple MPs and government scientists. "Now we know they were not only ignoring our persistent pleas for constructive dialogue, but had no intention of engaging with us. "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." In Defra's latest statement they said a post-mortem is still to be conducted. Helen said she wanted an "independent witness" to be present for such a procedure to avoid any "fudging" of the results to "create a suspicion of confirmed disease." She said: "It's an absolute disgrace. He has never been exposed to Tb. This is blatant abuse." One supporter named Ray Puttock said despite the tragic news, the Geronimo saga has brought many supporters together. He said: "We've all become very good friends here. People here weren't my friends when they turned up, now they'll always be my friends." On the heavy police presence, he said: "I tried coming in two different ways and got stopped at both. "I saw five cars and three police motorbikes. That's without the vehicles that were here. ''It would be very interesting to ask the Avon and Somerset control room today 'how grade one many grade one blue shouts were you unable to attend because of all the officers that were at the alpacas?' "They are assisting the state, they are not assisting the people, the community they're supposed to serve. Just disgraceful." ENDS

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