A Public Fight to Save Alpaca Is Over

UK health officials euthanize Geronimo even though Helen Macdonald insisted he was healthy
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2021 1:15 PM CDT
Updated Aug 31, 2021 9:30 AM CDT
Out of Options, Alpaca Owner Vows to 'Obstruct' Executioners
Animal rights protesters hold placards outside Britain's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in London on Aug. 9, 2021, to try to save an alpaca named Geronimo from being euthanized.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Update: Geronimo the alpaca is dead. UK health officials euthanized the animal on Tuesday over the objections of its owner and despite a public outcry. The Telegraph reports there were "ugly scenes at the farm" as supporters tussled with the police who arrived to remove him. Our original story from earlier this month follows:

The owner of the most divisive alpaca in Europe has exhausted her legal options to save 8-year-old Geronimo from execution. A British High Court on Wednesday rejected Helen Macdonald's attempt to halt the warrant to kill Geronimo, who has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, per the BBC. Macdonald and thousands of supporters believe the tests administered by the British health officials detect in alpacas an injection of tuberculin used as a primer before the tests, rather than a legitimate case of bovine tuberculosis.

Though Geronimo shows no symptoms of the contagious disease, Macdonald says she is supposed to cull him at her south Gloucestershire farm Thursday or permit Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) officials to kill him at any time afterward, per the Guardian. She says she won't allow either option. "I'm not a criminal," but "I'm not doing it" and "I will obstruct anyone who comes on to my farm," Macdonald tells the BBC. Supporters camped out at the farm have promised the same.

Macdonald's legal team had fought Wednesday to gain access to data from a judicial review, which Macdonald says shows that nine camelids who were put down after testing positive for bovine TB were actually in fine health. But she says that access was denied. Justice Mary Elizabeth Stacey had ruled that there was "no prospect" of success in Macdonald's bid to reopen a previous ruling, which was "a disingenuous and backdoor way of seeking a further route to appeal," per the BBC. DEFRA previously said it had "very carefully considered" the testing results and options for Geronimo. But "I know he's healthy," Macdonald, a veterinary nurse, tells the New York Times. (Read more alpaca stories.)

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