The owner of Geronimo – a plump, soft, highly divisive 8-year-old alpaca – lost her last legal effort on Wednesday to save him from execution.
A UK high court rejected Helen Macdonald’s attempt to halt the warrant for Geronimo, who is believed to be suffering from bovine tuberculosis, according to the agricultural authorities.
Ms. Macdonald, who believes the government’s diagnosis is the result of a false positive, said she now has until 4:30 p.m. Thursday to see him herself, or the authorities could show up at a time of their choosing, in order to do this.
Judge Mary Elizabeth Stacey concluded that there was “no prospect” that Ms. Macdonald would succeed in her attempt to reopen an earlier judgment, according to the British press, which covered the hearing extensively.
Mrs. Macdonald, a veterinary nurse, did not attend the hearing herself; She was back at the Gloucestershire farm with Geronimo, the dozen of “alpaca angels” who vowed to protect Geronimo from execution, and the numerous reporters who covered in detail the legal developments surrounding the battle for Geronimo to have. But what Ms. Macdonald heard from members of her legal team in attendance matched “no prospect,” she said.
Still, she wasn’t ready to give up.
“I’m not having him euthanized,” said Ms. Macdonald. “No way. I know he’s healthy.”
Ms. Macdonald and the tens of thousands of other people who have gathered around Geronimo in the past few weeks believe that Geronimo tested positive for bovine TB twice, not because he is sick, but because the testing system is flawed. Other alpaca owners and veterinarians have been skeptical of the test in the past.
The UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs known as DEFRA, which is running the tests, said it was not.
“We understand the situation of Ms. Macdonald – just as we do with everyone with animals affected by this terrible disease,” said the agency earlier this month in a post that the agency was destined to provide “misleading information “To expose about Geronimo. “For this reason, the test results and options for Geronimo were examined very carefully by DEFRA, the animal and phytosanitary authority and their veterinary experts and went through several stages of a thorough legal review.” The agency could not be reached to comment on the current developments.
Ms. Macdonald said her legal team’s strategy on Wednesday was to gain access to data from a judicial review that she believes nine camelids – the term used for slender-necked animals such as alpacas, llamas and camels – were found that were positive tested for bovine TB to be perfectly healthy after being euthanized. The judge denied her access to this “evidence,” she said, and was told she cannot appeal the decision.
According to DEFRA, more than 27,000 cattle were slaughtered in England last year to curb bovine TB.
The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said it was important to take positive tests seriously in order to “eradicate the greatest threat to animal health in this country”.
The judge’s verdict “doesn’t change anything,” Ms. Macdonald wrote on Save Geronimo’s Facebook page on Wednesday. “We keep fighting!”
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