Bristol

Geronimo: South Gloucestershire farmer to appeal to save alpaca

Geronimo the alpaca Image copyright Helen Macdonald
Image caption Geronimo has been kept in quarantine since his arrival in the UK in 2017

An alpaca farmer is taking her fight to stop one of her animals being killed to the Court of Appeal.

Helen Macdonald's stud, Geronimo, has been earmarked for slaughter after twice testing positive for bovine TB.

A High Court bid to save him was dismissed earlier this month due to a lack of "compelling evidence".

Ms Macdonald, from Wickwar, near Bristol, said it is "part of her duty of care" to appeal against the decision.

Geronimo was moved to the UK from New Zealand in August 2017 and has been kept in quarantine since his arrival.

Ms Macdonald went to court to challenge Environment Secretary Michael Gove's refusal to allow Geronimo to be re-tested.

Her lawyers argued there was "overwhelming evidence" to show the alpaca was not infected, and said the original test results were based on "flawed science" and not reliable.

But Mr Justice Murray concluded the decision was not unlawful.

He acknowledged the government accepted "it is possible that Ms Macdonald is correct that the... test results are false positives" but added: "Nonetheless, the two positive results provide strong evidence, to a high degree of certainty, that he is so infected."

Ms Macdonald said: "Geronimo still displays no clinical signs of bTB, nor do the other alpacas that have been held in isolation with Geronimo for the last two years.

"It is hard to square these hard facts with a view that Geronimo is in fact infected with this devastating disease."

She said she expected to file for appeal by the end of the month, and hoped it would be heard as soon as possible.

"In the meantime, the court has made an order preventing the Secretary of State from slaughtering Geronimo whilst our application is outstanding," she said.

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