Geronimo the alpaca will be euthanised, Downing Street insists

The Government insisted there can be no reprieve for Wickwar’s Geronimo the alpaca as crowds of animal rights protesters marched on Downing Street.

Geronimo has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, and the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) has ordered he be euthanised.

Around 30 people – including fellow alpaca farmers who had lost animals in similar circumstances – gathered outside Defra’s headquarters in Smith Square, Westminster on Monday,

Several alpacas who were reportedly due to attend the march were not brought along due to safety concerns.

Protesters marched past the Houses of Parliament to the gates of Downing Street on Whitehall.

Some carried banners reading “We stand with Geronimo” and “Eustice, admit you’re wrong.”

The campaigners, including Geronimo’s owner Helen Mcdonald, believe that the alpaca is free of TB and that Defra’s tests are highly likely to be inaccurate.

They are demanding a different type of test be used to prove Geronimo’s disease status before his death.

But Downing Street insisted that all the evidence on the animal’s condition had been “looked at very carefully.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We know how distressing losing animals to TB is for anyone. That is why the Environment Secretary has looked at this extremely carefully and interrogated all the evidence.

“The fact remains that Geronimo has sadly tested positive twice using a highly specific and reliable and validated test.

“This is something the Environment Secretary has looked at very carefully.”

Ms Macdonald said that when Defra officials do attend Shepherds Close Farm to euthanise Geronimo she will not break the law.

“I’m not going to break the law but I am not going to make it easy. I’m not going to be helping them kill an animal that does not need to be killed,” she said.

“This is an animal injustice and everyone can relate to it and people are coming from all sectors of farming to support us.

“We can make a difference. Geronimo is the poster boy for doing a better job than what we have done in the past.”

Ms Macdonald, who imported Geronimo from New Zealand, believes the tests are returning false positives, but has been refused permission to have him tested a third time.

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