UK vets euthanize alpaca with bovine TB after public battle
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LONDON (AP) — British government veterinarians on Tuesday killed Geronimo, an alpaca whose sentence of death for carrying bovine tuberculosis made international headlines and pitted animal activists against the state.
Veterinary staff in blue overalls, masks and goggles, backed by police officers, arrived at the western England farm where the animal lives, and took Geronimo from his pen. The scene was witnessed by animal activists and journalists who have camped out at the farm in Wickwar, 110 miles (175 kilo- meters) west of London, vowing to stop the killing.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the animal had been euthanized.
The controversial camelid was sentenced to death after twice testing positive for bovine TB. His owner, Helen Macdonald, argued the tests had produced false positives and battled for a third test.
Several veterinarians backed her cause, but earlier this month a High Court judge rejected Macdonald’s request for a temporary injunction to stop the killing order and reopen the case.
Bovine TB can devastate cat- tle herds and hurt farm revenues. Britain has been culling animals — chiefly badgers — to stop its spread for a decade, but the practice remains contentious.