Geronimo the Alpaca: Owner of alpaca will 'fight on' after losing last-ditch High Court case

The owner of Geronimo the alpaca said she will “obstruct” anyone who comes on to her farm after losing a last-ditch High Court bid to save him, vowing: “It’s not over.”

Helen Macdonald with Geronimo the alpaca at Shepherds Close Farm in Wooton Under Edge, Gloucestershire, after losing a last-ditch High Court bid to save him. The animal has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and, as a result, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has ordered its destruction (Photo: Jacob King).
Helen Macdonald with Geronimo the alpaca at Shepherds Close Farm in Wooton Under Edge, Gloucestershire, after losing a last-ditch High Court bid to save him. The animal has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and, as a result, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has ordered its destruction (Photo: Jacob King).

The animal has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and, as a result, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has ordered its destruction.

His owner Helen Macdonald, who imported him 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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Ms Macdonald said she is now in a “stand-off situation” and will “fight on”.

Geronimo the alpaca at Shepherds Close Farm in Wooton Under Edge, Gloucestershire, after Helen Macdonald lost a last-ditch High Court bid to save him (Photo: Jacob King).

Ms Macdonald, who owns a farm at Wickwar, South Gloucestershire, has received an outpouring of support from the public, with more than 130,000 people signing a petition calling on Boris Johnson to halt the killing.

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She said the judge seems to have taken it “on face value” that Defra have disclosed what they needed to disclose.

“It’s not over. We’re back to where we were a week ago,” she told the PA news agency.

Geronimo the alpaca at Shepherds Close Farm in Wooton Under Edge, Gloucestershire. A court is due to decide whether Geornimo can be granted a stay of execution from his destruction in order for further evidence to be produced (Jacob King).

Ms Macdonald said the Government have to “sort this out properly”, adding: “I’m not having my healthy animal put to sleep and neither am I going to permit them, if I can possibly help it, to come and slaughter him in front of the rest of the planet.

“They seem to want to make it my decision, and make me put my animal to sleep, to get the blood off their hands. I’m not doing it.”

Asked what will happen if officials arrive at her property in the coming days, she said: “Well, we’ll just obstruct. I don’t want to break the law. I’m not a criminal.

“They’re trying to make me into one but I’m not a criminal. I will obstruct anyone who comes on to my farm.”

Asked about what she plans specifically, she said: “I don’t know. We’ll have to play it by ear, but we’ve got people here all the time, and we’ll make life difficult for them.”

Ms Macdonald added: “It’s not a very nice situation to be in, but it’s definitely not over.

“We’ve got so much worldwide support, we’re not about to roll over now just because the Government decides that they can be dishonest and get away with it.

“That’s not how it works, so, yeah, we’ll fight on.”

A Defra spokesman said: “We are sympathetic to Ms Macdonald’s situation – just as we are with everyone with animals affected by this terrible disease.

“It is for this reason that the testing results and options for Geronimo have been very carefully considered by Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and its veterinary experts, as well as passing several stages of thorough legal scrutiny.

“Bovine tuberculosis is one of the greatest animal health threats we face today and causes devastation and distress for farming families and rural communities across the country while costing the taxpayer around £100 million every year.

“Therefore, while nobody wants to cull animals, we need to do everything we can tackle this disease to stop it spreading and to protect the livelihoods of those affected.”

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