An alpaca has been sentenced to death after his owner lost a legal attempt to save him from execution when the High Court ruled against her.
Geronimo, the 8-year-old alpaca, was set to be slaughtered after he tested positive for bovine tuberculosis twice.
Owner Helen Macdonald, who owns a farm and imported Geronimo from New Zealand, insists that the tests returned false positives.
Macdonald lost her last appeal and a warrant was signed for the alpaca’s death.
A judge reportedly refused Macdonald’s application for a temporary injunction to stop the enforcement of the destruction order.
In a statement, the legal team said they were ‘deeply disappointed’ by the results of the hearing.
“Mrs Justice Stacey did not grant the injunction we were seeking, the result of which is that DEFRA can enforce the warrant to execute Geronimo at any time after 4.30pm on Thursday 19 August,” the team said.
“Unfortunately, Mrs Justice Stacey has taken at face value the statements by Defra that they have complied with their duty of candour in bringing before the court all relevant information in applying for the warrant,” it continued.
“We are surprised and concerned by that approach, given the information that has come to light in recent weeks regarding the nine other camelids.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said: “We are sympathetic to Ms Macdonald’s situation, just as we are with everyone with animals affected by this terrible disease.
“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 £100m every year,” it continued.
“Therefore, while nobody wants to cull infected animals, we need to do everything we can to tackle this disease to stop it spreading and to protect the livelihoods of those affected.”
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