Government refuses to say how Geronimo the alpaca was killed

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Government officials have refused to disclose the methods used to kill the alpaca Geronimo.

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And the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may be forced to investigate complaints against Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) Christine Middlemis, about the decision to put the animal down and how it was handled that led to its death.

Owner Helen McDonald and animal welfare experts have repeatedly accused the government of not explaining how authorities put Geronimo down.


Authorities backed by police had euthanized Geronimo five weeks earlier, despite the presence of protesters supporting his boss, saying the positive tuberculosis results were based on flawed tests.

Ms Macdonald and supporters claim the officers handled the alpaca poorly and failed to use the right head halter to take them away, causing them “a lot of trouble” in their final hours.

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She said she was distraught by this and was not told which method of euthanasia was used.

In response to a Freedom of Information request Granthshala When asked how Geronimo died, Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) workers said he was euthanized, but said they could not disclose more information for data-protection reasons.

The APHA says it will issue post-mortem test results to Macdonald once the cultures are done, which could take several months.

“Jeronimo was taken from the farm by Animal and Plant Health Agency officials and taken to an Animal and Plant Health Agency facility for euthanasia,” the response read.

“The officers handling alpaca are highly experienced with camels and have worked with them for many years, having extensive working knowledge of camel collection, handling and TB testing.”

Geronimo tested negative for bovine TB before being imported from New Zealand in 2017. He showed no symptoms after that, but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) insisted that later tests on him had proved positive, so he should be killed.

Animal lovers furiously claimed that APHA officials were cruel to use a rope instead of a right head harness.

Asked about any advice that the Chief Veterinary Officer had given in advance on the methods used to lead Geronimo from his area, the APHA responded that the use of head harnesses was provided by the CVO. No recorded information has been found on the advice given and “therefore this information has not happened”.

Ms Macdonald and supporters have filed a complaint with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, demanding an inquiry into Ms Middlemis’s conduct.

A spokesman for the college said: “We are unable to say that any concerns have been raised with us regarding individual veterinary professionals until they have been referred for a full public hearing of the Disciplinary Committee. This To ensure fairness to all parties involved.”

A decision on a referral will generally take place within four months.

Ms Middlemis has previously said that the TB-like lesions found on Geronimo’s body were under further investigation, adding: “These tests involve the development of bacteriological cultures from tissue samples which usually takes several months.”

A Defra spokeswoman said Geronimo’s removal was carefully planned with her welfare in mind, and that Ms Middlemis had a wealth of experience and knowledge in the veterinary field and was uniquely qualified for the role .

Geronimo was transported under veterinary supervision, says Defra, and that vets were present during the loading and unloading as well as the trip in the back of the trailer.

“To ensure that there were no restrictions on Geronimo’s breathing, Holter’s fit was assessed several times and it was therefore decided that it was the best fit for the situation,” the spokesman said.


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