Death-row alpaca Geronimo taken from South Gloucestershire farm and killed

  • Geronimo is escorted off the farm by police officers and Defra[Warning: Contains footage some may find distressing]

Geronimo the alpaca has been taken away from the farm he lived on in Gloucestershire and killed.

Police officers and people from the Animal and Plant Health Agency - part of the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) - both arriverd at the farm, near Wickwar, on the morning of Tuesday 31 August.

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

Geronimo's owner, Helen Macdonald, believes the test results are false positives and campaigners have been protesting against the destruction of the alpaca.

Uniformed officers were spotted at the farm near Wickwar talking to three people dressed in blue overalls, masks, and goggles before a live webcam captured Geronimo being taken away.

Defra has since confirmed Geronimo has been euthanised.

Government officials took Geronimo the alpaca from the farm where he lived in Wickwar, South Gloucestershire, before he was put down. Credit: PA

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: "This is a terribly sad situation and our sympathies remain with all those affected by this devastating disease.

"No-one wants to have to cull infected animals if it can be avoided, but we need to follow the scientific evidence and cull animals that have tested positive for bTB to minimise spread of this insidious disease and ultimately eradicate the biggest threat to animal health in this country.

"Not only is this essential to protect the livelihoods of our farming industry and rural communities, but it is also necessary to avoid more TB cases in humans."

Other alpacas on the farm, which were not in the same pen, gathered nearby when the commotion started before running off to another part of the farm.

Officers were seen standing in a line at the edge of the pen with their actions broadcast on an online live feed of the enclosure.

Two officers wearing light-blue vests appear to be engaging with members of the public next to a We Are Geronimo banner, set up by campaigners opposing the destruction of the animal.

A spokesperson from Avon and Somerset Police confirmed its officers were at the farm and said they were there to support Defra.

"We'll always support our partner agencies to carry out their lawful duties, and our role is to prevent a breach of the peace and to ensure public safety is protected," a spokesperson for the force said.