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Why was Geronimo the alpaca put down?

GERONIMO the beloved alpaca has been executed as he was escorted away from the Gloucestershire farm.

Helen Macdonald's lost her court battle to save the alpaca after it tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and was ordered to be euthanised.

Who is Geronimo?

Geronimo is an alpaca imported from New Zealand in 2017.

He lives on Shepherds Close Farm in Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, with his protective owner, Helen.

She has vowed to take a bullet to save him from callous jobsworths.

Ms Macdonald disputed the results and mounted court challenges to save him before Defra's September 4 deadline.

When was he executed?

Avon and Somerset police officers attended the site in Wickwar, South Gloucestershire, shortly before 11am on Tuesday alongside three people dressed in blue overalls, masks and goggles.

After about 20 minutes the black alpaca was rounded up as other alpacas watched on from a nearby field, before being loaded into a trailer, which then left the scene.

Geronimo the alpaca was taken from the farm where he lives by government vets supported by a police escort.

Why was Geronimo put down?

The stud animal was destroyed by Defra after twice testing positive for bovine TB.

Heartbreakingly, Helen has been told she or her own vet must carry out the shocking deed or Environment Secretary George Eustice will send in an extermination team.

Helen is adamant the tests are returning false positives, but she's been refused permission to have him tested a third time.

But she has lost her final appeal to save her beloved pet at the High Court in London and now a warrant has been signed for his destruction.

What is bovine TB?

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease of cattle.

It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis).

This can also infect and cause disease in many other mammals including humans, deer, goats, pigs, cats, dogs and badgers.

In cattle, it is mainly a respiratory disease.

Evidence of bovine TB is most commonly found in the lymph glands of the throat and lungs of affected animals.

This means that the bacteria, which cause the disease, are mainly passed out of the infected animal’s body in its breath or in discharges from the nose or mouth.

What has Geronimo's owner Helen Macdonald said?

Tearful farmer Helen Macdonald said she is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice and step in the way of any gunman told to kill her beloved chocolate-brown stud animal.

Helen told The Sun: “I can’t stand by and let my animal be killed and I’m willing to stand in the way of any gunman who comes to destroy Geronimo.

“They’ve picked on the wrong woman. There is no way that I will put him to sleep.”

Vet Helen has been fighting the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for four years and is now drowning in £50,000 legal fees.

“I will not ask my vet to and I certainly won’t do it. I feel persecuted because of the way we are being treated by Defra.

“If Geronimo did have TB he should have been dead by now. Alpacas with TB only last a few months, but it’s been more than four years since he allegedly tested positive.

“This has become a personal battle between Defra and myself and they are prepared to take me to the cleaners because they can’t bring themselves to admit they are in the wrong.”

The threat that a vet can walk on to her farm in Wickwar, Gloucs, and kill Geronimo at any moment is giving her nightmares.

She said: “Every time a van goes past I’m worried it’s Defra come to carry out the warrant and that’s incredibly frightening.

“We believe we’ve proved that Geronimo is clear of TB from the time he was brought over from New Zealand until now.

“He’s had four skin tests prior to leaving and numerous other blood tests and there’s no evidence of bovine TB. But Defra will not accept these tests.

“They will not accept their initial test was flawed and have been standing by that result ever since. They have moved the goal posts as far as the tests go and now they just want to make an example of Geronimo and it’s just so unfair."

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