Is this D-Day for Geronimo? Police finally arrive at alpaca's farm

D-Day for Geronimo: Police clash with animal rights protesters as officials in blue body suits enter alpaca’s pen days before death warrant expires

Police entered Geronimo the alpaca’s pen at his Gloucestershire farm this morning and tied a rope around an animal just days before the destruction warrant ends after the animal tested positive twice for bovine tuberculosis.

Uniformed officers wearing facemasks could be seen speaking to three people dressed in blue overalls and goggles outside the farm in Wickwar this morning, and tying rope around an animal thought to be Geronimo. 

The alpaca has been on a ‘death sentence’ for months after the High Court ruled it must be destroyed for testing positive for TB – tests which owner Helen Macdonald insists are false positives. 

The destruction warrant is valid until September 4 and Miss Macdonald wants the Department for Environment to allow Geronimo to be tested for a third time or let him live to aid research into the disease. 

Miss Macdonald has long argued that the Enferplex test is flawed and says Geronimo tested positive because he had repeatedly been primed with tuberculin – a purified protein derivative of bovine TB bacteria.

The veterinary nurse has received support from around the world – with more than 140,000 people signing a petition against Geronimo’s destruction. 

A Defra spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We are sympathetic to Ms Macdonald’s situation – just as we are with everyone with animals affected by this terrible disease. It is for this reason that 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 £100million every year. 

‘Therefore, while nobody wants to cull animals, we need to do everything we can to tackle this disease, stop it spreading and to protect the livelihoods of those affected.’

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We can confirm officers are in attendance at a farm in the Wickwar area of South Gloucestershire this morning to support the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), who are executing a court warrant.

‘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.’  

Police have turned up to the Gloucestershire farm which is home to Geronimo the alpaca just days before the destruction warrant ends after the animal tested positive twice for bovine tuberculosis 

Uniformed officers wearing facemasks could be seen speaking to three people dressed in blue overalls and goggles outside the farm in Wickwar this morning, and tying rope around an animal

Geronimo has been on a ‘death sentence’ for months after the High Court ruled it must be destroyed for testing positive for TB – tests which owner Helen Macdonald insists are false positives

Helen Macdonald, 50, called on the Government to allow Geronimo the alpaca to be tested for TB for a third time or let him live to aid research into the disease

Miss Macdonald has long argued that the Enferplex test is flawed and says Geronimo tested positive because he had repeatedly been primed with tuberculin – a purified protein derivative of bovine TB bacteria

Miss Macdonald had called for an urgent meeting with the Government, pleading: ‘We are requesting an urgent meeting with Environment Secretary George Eustice, and really hope to hear back from Defra.

‘It is naturally a terribly traumatic time for Geronimo and myself, and everyone else who has been supporting us over the last few weeks. But we remain confident that there are ways forward to save Geronimo, and that Defra will find a way to do the right thing.’

Last week, more than a dozen vets said they have ‘grave reservations’ about the two positive tests the eight-year-old animal returned in 2017 and that they ‘may well represent a false positive’. 

Earlier this month, a High Court judge refused her lawyer’s application for a temporary injunction to stop the destruction order and reopen the case.

Miss Macdonald said that when Defra officials do attend her farm to euthanise Geronimo, she will not break the law.

The veterinary nurse believes the two tests for bovine tuberculosis in 2017 returned false positives because he had repeatedly been primed with tuberculin – a purified protein derivative of bovine TB bacteria

The destruction warrant is valid until September 4 and earlier this month, a High Court judge refused her lawyer’s application for a temporary injunction to stop the destruction order

This week, more than a dozen vets said they have ‘grave reservations’ about the two positive tests Geronimo returned in 2017 and that they ‘may well represent a false positive’ 

Supporters have also been camping out at her farm in case officials arrive to destroy him. They have been receiving regular deliveries of supplies from well-wishers, including tea bags, coffee, sugar, and vegan food.

As well as alpacas, badgers have been a victim of the fight against bovine TB, with mass culling employed to stop the spread since 2013, sparking a huge public backlash.

The Government insists that all the evidence on the animal’s condition has been ‘looked at very carefully’. 

This is a breaking news story. More to follow 

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