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

D-Day for Geronimo as he is set to be executed TODAY: Police clash with animal rights activists as Defra officials seize alpaca who is driven away under escort from farm days before death warrant expires

  • Police clashed with animal rights protesters as Defra officials entered Geronimo the alpaca’s pen today
  • Uniformed officers could be seen at the farm in Wickwar just days before the destruction warrant ends
  • The High Court ruled Geronimo must be destroyed for testing positive twice for bovine tuberculosis
  • But its owner Helen Macdonald has long insisted that the Enferplex test used on the alpaca is flawed
  • Police clashed with animal rights protesters defending Geronimo the alpaca this morning as Defra officials seized the animal at his Gloucestershire farm this morning and drove the animal away to be slaughtered just days before the destruction warrant expires.

    Meer as 30 uniformed officers wearing facemasks could be seen speaking to three Defra officials dressed in blue overalls and goggles outside the farm in Wickwar at 10.45am and tying a rope around Geronimo, whose fate has captivated the British public.

    The alpaca has been on a ‘death sentencefor months after the High Court ruled it must be destroyed for testing positive twice for bovine tuberculosisresults which owner Helen Macdonald insists are false. Miss Macdonald, a veterinary nurse originally from New Zealand who previously vowed to stand in front of a marksman to protect Geronimo, was nowhere to be seen today.

    The destruction warrant is valid until Saturday, September 4 and Miss Macdonald had previously called on Environment Secretary George Eustice to allow Geronimo to be tested for a third time or let him live to aid research into the disease.

    Web cam footage showed Geronimo make a break for freedom from his ‘captorsand run into a field with other alpacas. Its supportersthe ‘Alpaca Angels’, who have kept watch over the studpreviously vowed to thwart the executioners by using deploy alpacas.

    Geronimo has been in isolation, but four similar-looking alpacas are in an adjacent field with an open gate in between. Vandag, several officials followed the alpaca carrying rope and chased the pack around the meadow. Geronimo was then lead back into his barn before he was taken into a horsebox and driven away under police escort.

    Miss Macdonald, a veterinary nurse, insists the Enferplex test is flawed and says Geronimo tested positive because he had repeatedly been primed with tuberculina purified protein derivative of bovine TB bacteria. She has received support from around the world, met meer as 140,000 people signing a petition against Geronimo’s destruction.

    An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: ‘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.

    A Defra spokesman refused to comment on ‘operational matterswhen approached by MailOnline, but said in a statement: ‘We are sympathetic to Ms Macdonald’s situationjust 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.

    Uniformed officers wearing facemasks could be seen speaking to three people dressed in blue overalls and goggles outside the farm in Wickwar at 10.45am and tying a rope around Geronimo

    Uniformed officers wearing facemasks could be seen speaking to three people dressed in blue overalls and goggles outside the farm in Wickwar at 10.45am and tying a rope around Geronimo

    Police clashed with animal rights protesters defending Geronimo the alpaca this morning

    Police clashed with animal rights protesters defending Geronimo the alpaca this morning

    The alpaca has been on a 'death sentence' for months after the High Court ruled it must be destroyed for testing positive twice for bovine tuberculosis

    The alpaca has been on a ‘death sentencefor months after the High Court ruled it must be destroyed for testing 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 at 10.45am and tying a rope around Geronimo

    Uniformed officers wearing facemasks could be seen speaking to three people dressed in blue overalls and goggles outside the farm in Wickwar at 10.45am and tying a rope around Geronimo

    Vandag, several officials followed the alpaca carrying rope and chased the pack around the meadow. Geronimo was then lead back into his barn before he was taken into a horsebox and driven away under police escort

    Vandag, several officials followed the alpaca carrying rope and chased the pack around the meadow. Geronimo was then lead back into his barn before he was taken into a horsebox and driven away under police escort

    Vandag, several officials followed the alpaca carrying rope and chased the pack around the meadow. Geronimo was then lead back into his barn before he was taken into a horsebox and driven away under police escort

    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 the animal

    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 the animal

    Web cam footage showed Geronimo make a break for freedom from his 'captors' and run into a field with other alpacas

    Web cam footage showed Geronimo make a break for freedom from his ‘captorsand run into a field with other alpacas

    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

    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

    ‘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.

    ‘Daarom, 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.

    Protestors were in tears after Geronimo was rounded up and driven away. They accused Defra of breaking the law by transporting the black alpaca away from the Gloucestershire farm.

    Campaigner Graham Edwards, 54, gesê: ‘They have broken their own laws and protocolsif the animal has TB they are not allowed to move it. It should have been slaughtered here but they wouldn’t do it because there are cameras here to record everything that happened.

    Graham, uit Reading, has spent two weeks camping at the farm, gesê: ‘They came mob-handed – daar was meer as 30 police here. They pushed through a fence, they came to do a job and there was no stopping them. I was told the vets were Spanishnot even English.

    ‘It was supposed to have been put down here, not taken away. We didn’t expect them to take it away. They are a bunch of hypocritesI’m gutted, we all are.

    More than a dozen leading vets called on the Government to halt the culling of Geronimo after questioning his tuberculosis diagnosis, and instead urged the animal to be studied for science.

    Die 13 vetswho include a former senior official at the Department for Environment, Voedsel en Landelike Sake – said they had ‘grave reservationsabout the two positive tests the animal returned in 2017 and they ‘may well represent a false positive’.

    Among the signatories to the letter are Professor Ranald Munroe, former head of pathology for Defra’s Veterinary Laboratories Agency and Dr Iain McGill, veterinary scientific adviser to Ms Macdonald.

    In die brief, they write: ‘It is our professional opinion that the diagnosis in Geronimo’s case is unsafe, and may well represent a false positive, due to the fact that Geronimo had been repeatedly ‘antibody boostedor primed – five times in his lifetime with four injections of bovine tuberculin and one of avian tuberculin in the run up to the final Enferplex blood test which confirmed the ‘positivediagnosis of ‘suspicion of disease’.

    They said Mr Eustice had the power to overturn Geronimo’s destruction warrant and order he be observed for scientific research.

    ‘We could learn a great deal from Geronimo were he to be compassionately studied, but very little from his death,’ hulle het gesê.

    ‘We believe Geronimo’s case shines a light on the shortcomings of the current bTB testing policy, and gives an opportunity for a comprehensive review of the bovine TB testing and control policy, based on science and for the health and wellbeing of farmers, cattle, alpacas, badgers, the environment and the public.

    Uniformed officers wearing facemasks could be seen speaking to three people dressed in blue overalls and goggles outside the farm in Wickwar at 10.45am

    Uniformed officers wearing facemasks could be seen speaking to three people dressed in blue overalls and goggles outside the farm in Wickwar at 10.45am

    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

    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

    A number of policemen arrive at the farm of Helen Macdonald, whose alpaca Geronimo is expected to be destroyed

    A number of policemen arrive at the farm of Helen Macdonald, whose alpaca Geronimo is expected to be destroyed

    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

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

    ‘Given the mental anguish that Helen MacDonald has had to endure these past four years, and the publicity surrounding the case, we would urge Secretary of State for Defra, George Eustice and his team to discuss matters with us and Ms MacDonald to find a way out of this impasse.

    Miss Macdonald had called for an urgent meeting with the Government, pleit: ‘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.

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

    Vroeër vandeesmaand, 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.

    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, koffie, suiker, 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’.

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

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