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

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.

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.

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

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 would need 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.

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

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.

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