After a four-year battle and loud protests, the British government has put alpaca Geronimo to sleep. The animal tested positive for the dangerous disease bovine tuberculosis, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. The owner of Geronimo has always doubted this and filed several lawsuits.
Four years ago, British alpaca breeder Helen Macdonald took Geronimo from New Zealand to Wickwar, near the city of Bristol. Upon arrival, the animal tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, a deadly and contagious disease. Out of the risk of further infections, the ministry decided to put the animal to sleep.
Macdonald disputed the testing and has been challenging the decision legally since 2017. According to the owner, Geronimo was tested four times in New Zealand, and the results came back negative. In England, on the other hand, he tested positive twice. Macdonald asked the British Ministry to test Geronimo again. According to her, the accuracy of the British tests was insufficiently proven. Her request was denied.
After a battle of four years, Geronimo was taken away this morning by a team of vets accompanied by police officers. Not much later, Macdonald was told that the animal had been euthanized. “I am absolutely disgusted by this government. These are barbaric actions. It is a disgrace,” Macdonald commented on this morning’s events.
Alpaca Geronimo divided public opinion between Britain. However, Macdonald managed to gather a large group of Britons to support her cause. A petition against the government’s decision was signed as many as 150,000 times. In London, protests also erupted near Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s residence in Downing Street. Even Johnson’s father spoke out on the case, calling on his son to “stop the murder” of Geronimo.