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World Geronimo the alpaca, who UK health officials killed thinking he had bovine tuberculosis, might not have been sick

13:30  09 september  2021
13:30  09 september  2021 Source:   insider.com

UK vets euthanize alpaca with bovine TB after public battle

  UK vets euthanize alpaca with bovine TB after public battle LONDON (AP) — British government veterinarians on Tuesday killed Geronimo, an alpaca whose sentence of death for carrying bovine tuberculosis made international headlines and pitted animal activists against the state. Veterinary staff in blue overalls, masks and goggles, backed by police officers, arrived at the western England farm where the animal lives, and took Geronimo from his pen. The scene was witnessed by animal activists and journalists who have camped out at the farm in Wickwar, 110 miles (175 kilometers) west of London, vowing to stop the killing.

a herd of sheep walking across a grass covered field: Veterinary nurse Helen Macdonald with the alpaca Geronimo at Shepherds Close Farm in Wooton Under Edge, Gloucestershire on August 25, 2021 in Bristol, England. Geronimo, the alpaca, tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and is due to be slaughtered on the orders of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). However, 13 leading vets, including Prof Ranald Munroe, the former head of pathology at Defra) have called on the government to stop the culling of Geronimo and suggest he is studied for insight into the shortcomings of the current bTB testing policy. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images) Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images © Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images Veterinary nurse Helen Macdonald with the alpaca Geronimo at Shepherds Close Farm in Wooton Under Edge, Gloucestershire on August 25, 2021 in Bristol, England. Geronimo, the alpaca, tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and is due to be slaughtered on the orders of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). However, 13 leading vets, including Prof Ranald Munroe, the former head of pathology at Defra) have called on the government to stop the culling of Geronimo and suggest he is studied for insight into the shortcomings of the current bTB testing policy. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images) Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images
  • Geronimo, the beloved alpaca that became a British sensation, might not have been sick.
  • New reports show conflicting information between the UK government and the alpaca's owner.
  • Geronimo was killed in August after twice testing positive for bovine tuberculosis.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Geronimo, the beloved alpaca that was killed last month by the UK government after twice testing positive for bovine tuberculosis, might not have been sick, according to multiple reports.

Geronimo the alpaca euthanised in Britain despite public outcry

  Geronimo the alpaca euthanised in Britain despite public outcry Geronimo the alpaca euthanised in Britain despite public outcryVideo footage showed veterinary staff in blue overalls, masks, and goggles, backed by police officers, arrive at a farm in western England where the animal lived, and lead him away.

A government post-mortem examination of Geronimo found evidence of the disease, which is highly infectious and leads to the slaughter of thousands of livestock in the UK each year, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

"A number of TB-like lesions were found and in line with standard practice these are now undergoing further investigation," the government's chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said in a statement.

But vets working with Geronimo's owner Helen Macdonald, who owns the farm near Bristol, said there was no evidence of bovine tuberculosis, according to reports.


Video: Geronimo the alpaca euthanized after testing positive twice for bovine tuberculosis (The Washington Post)

Vets supporting Macdonald reviewed the early findings of the post-mortem, sent by the UK's Government Legal Department, and found no evidence of the disease, The Telegraph reported.

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"As reviewed by Dr Iain McGill and Dr Bob Broadbent, the preliminary gross post-mortem findings are negative for visible lesions typical of Bovine Tuberculosis," the lawyers said in a statement.

Macdonald requested the full findings of the post-mortem, including preserved fluid and tissue samples, and will pursue her own independent testing, Sky News reported.

Geronimo was condemned to death earlier this year after the positive tests, leading to a saga that featured legal battles and protests attempting to save the animal's life.

In August, Macdonald tried and failed in court to halt the killing, and was told she had one day to kill the animal herself. When she didn't do that, the UK's Department of Food, Environment, and Rural Affairs gave a warrant for executioners to enter Macdonald's farm sometime before September 4 to look for Geronimo. They ultimately killed the alpaca on August 31.

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