Geronimo: Alpaca experts complain to PM - saying he was 'pulled kicked and screamed' to his death | UK News | MCUTimes

Geronimo: Alpaca experts complain to PM – saying he was ‘pulled kicked and screamed’ to his death | UK News

Alpaca experts have written a letter of complaint to the government and have promised to take further steps over the way Geronimo was pulled from his pen, bundled in a horse box and killed.

The British Alpaca Society has complained to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Environment Secretary George Eustice and various other officials about the way the animal was removed from its owner’s farm.

It was decided that Geronimo had to be put down after twice testing positive for bovine tuberculosis, but his owner, Helen Macdonald, claims it was false positive.

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Moment Geronimo, the alpaca grabbed from the farm

Police officers and staff from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) arrived at Mrs Macdonald’s farm near Wickwar in South Gloucestershire on 31 August.

Geronimo was tied with a white rope before being scanned for a microchip and then pulled through a field to a waiting trailer.

Less than 90 minutes after leaving his home, DEFRA confirmed that he had been killed by staff from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

The chairman of the British Alpaca Society, Sue Loach, condemned the way Geronimo was removed from his pen, saying staff “dragged him, kicked and screamed” before leaving him tied up and standing up at the back of the trailer.

Ms Loach said she has now received an unsigned response from APHA, which said: “Removal operations were carefully planned, conducted and included consideration of Geronimo’s welfare.”

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Geronimo alpaca killed by government doctors

The letter also stated that he was transported under “veterinary supervision” and he “arrived at the destination in the same condition as when he left the farm.

“This was a difficult and high-pressure situation for everyone involved. We can assure you that our staff did everything in their power to protect Geronimo’s welfare and treat him with dignity,” it added.

Loach, however, claims that APHA “failed to properly put a halter on him” and tied him up in a “dangerous way” inside the trailer.

She said: “APHA clearly does not appear to have witnessed the same events as I did.

“How can they claim that there was protection of welfare?

“The British Alpaca Society will not let this terrible unprofessionalism go unchallenged and further steps will be taken.”

Geronimo alpaca
Geronimo alpaca

Geronimo’s owner has fought for his destruction after claiming the two positive test results were false negatives and urged him to be tested a third time or allowed to live to help investigate the disease.

The veterinary nurse argued that the Enferplex test was fundamentally deficient and said that the alpaca tested positive because he had been repeatedly primed with tuberculin – a purified protein derivative of bovine TB bacteria.

“I want the vets touched in Tuesday’s avoidable cruelty, disciplined according to the evidence from the British Alpaca Society statement,” Macdonald said.

“They could have brought a head collar or used their own, which was in the barn. Alpacas should never be tied up, and they should know that.

“They should have sent competent, caring veterinarians who understand and are confident in handling alpacas.

“Really heartbreaking that members of my own profession could fail us in the most cruel way.”

Chief veterinarian Christine Middlemiss said: “This is a terribly sad situation and our sympathy is with all those affected by this devastating disease.”

A protest outside DEFRA HQ in Central London is scheduled for Wednesday.

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