An alpaca condemned to loss of life after testing optimistic for bovine tuberculosis seems set to die regardless of his proprietor pleading with Boris Johnson for a keep of execution.
Geronimo the six-year-old alpaca has examined optimistic for the illness twice and a Excessive Court docket choose has dominated he should be put down.
His proprietor, Helen Macdonald, whose farm is in Wickwar, South Gloucestershire, mentioned she is going to “stand in the way in which of any gunman who involves destroy Geronimo” as she disputes the check outcomes.
Greater than 80,000 folks have signed a petition asking the prime minister to step in, whereas practically £19,000 has been donated in the direction of authorized prices.
However Boris Johnson’s spokesman mentioned the principles want to use equally and in addition defended the assessments, saying there have been no plans to hold out additional assessments.
“The check used on Geronimo is extremely particular, it’s validated, it’s dependable and the chance of a false optimistic is extraordinarily low,” he mentioned.
“A retest after two consecutive optimistic check outcomes would not invalidate the earlier assessments.
“So, there isn’t any plans for any additional assessments.
“We recognise how distressing this clearly is for Ms Macdonald, as it’s for farmers who’ve needed to put cattle down – 27,000 needed to be put down final yr alone.
“We’d like illness management measures to be utilized persistently if we’re capable of sort out it and clearly that is why we have to transfer forward now.
“We’ve got achieved these extremely correct assessments and we have no plans to vary that.”
Surroundings Secretary George Eustice mentioned Geronimo was examined “utilizing a extremely particular and dependable check”.
However Ms Macdonald, a veterinary nurse and alpaca breeder, mentioned: “It is a whole load of lies, the testing has by no means been validated.
“He is nonetheless standing by such a ridiculous declare as a result of they’ve made errors of judgment they usually’ve been caught out.
“If he is keen to kill a wholesome animal in entrance of the entire world with out testing him correctly first, then it is a sorry state of affairs.
“And it is going to be for the world to see. As a result of if he sends some poor particular person down right here with a gun to shoot Geronimo then it’ll get filmed by the world’s media.”
The proprietor, 50, mentioned the federal government has recognized “since 2016 that these assessments produce false positives should you give an alpaca greater than two photographs of tuberculin inside a 12-month interval”.
Geronimo had 4 pores and skin assessments earlier than he was exported from New Zealand, which have been all destructive.
He then had two blood assessments and a pores and skin check within the UK that have been optimistic.
The Division for Surroundings, Meals and Rural Affairs (Defra) mentioned the check has a 0.36% probability of manufacturing a false optimistic. Nonetheless, no trials for the way correct the assessments are on alpacas have been carried out.
Defra has refused to check the opposite 5 alpacas Geronimo lives with.
Ms Macdonald has been embroiled in a authorized battle with Defra since 2017 however the case has gained traction after a second loss of life warrant got here into impact on Thursday after a ultimate Excessive Court docket bid to avoid wasting him failed.