Alpaca backers vow to save Geronimo as PM refuses to cancel firing squad

GERONIMO the alpaca’s growing band of supporters vowed to carry on fighting tonight after the PM refused to cancel his death sentence.

The animal has won a weekend-long reprieve after we highlighted his plight — with more than 83,000 people signing a petition calling for mercy in the bovine TB case.

The campaign includes celebrity support from actress Joanna Lumley and telly naturalist Chris Packham.

Meanwhile, backers are this weekend planning a march on Downing Street to try to save Geronimo’s life.

Activists are also considering setting up a “Geronimo-cam” so supporters can watch his every move online in another bid to keep him alive.

Officials called off the firing squad for another 48 hours as the world awaits his fate.

But No10 insisted that, while Boris Johnson is sympathetic to the situation, the execution could not be cancelled altogether.

Eight-year-old Geronimo is caught in a stand-off between owner Helen Macdonald and Defra, which says he tested positive twice for bovine TB.

Sources told The Sun they wanted to handle it in the most “sensitive way possible” and nothing was likely to happen over the weekend.

Helen refuses to back down and let a vet euthanise him.

We reported yesterday she said she would even risk her own life to save her animal.

Farmer Helen, of Wickwar, Gloucs, claims the tests on him were faulty. She told The Sun: “I’m sure the PM and Environment Secretary George Eustice don’t want Geronimo’s blood on their hands and if they do then they will suffer the consequences.

“Both have been duped by incompetent officials.”

Defra insist two false positives are impossible. Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss was due to speak with Helen to try to persuade her to relent.

She claims two cops showed up tonight “gauging the level of resistance they might face” if they arrive with vets

Right to seek other test

By Chris Packham, TV naturalist

HELEN Macdonald deserves our applause for the brave stand she is taking in defence of Geronimo.

She has a passion for alpacas, which are charming animals.

Having spent five years with him, Helen is bound to have developed an emotional bond.

Her determination has made this a test case for the many alpacas in the UK.

She is a veterinary nurse and understands that government tests for Bovine TB are unreliable.

Even in cattle they produce a significant amount of false positives, which results in the death of an animal which isn’t diseased, and false negatives, which means you are not culling an infectious cow.

The tests are modified for alpacas so the results are even more questionable.

Geronimo tested negative before leaving New Zealand.

He travelled under quarantine and has been in quarantine since.

No animal he is with or travelled with has shown signs of Bovine TB so it’s reasonable for Helen to ask for a different type of test to prove whether he’s infected.

If they also come back positive then I accept he could pose a risk and should be put down.

The worst thing would be for Geronimo to be euthanised and for an autopsy to reveal he never had Bovine TB.

That would be a senseless waste.

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