A FARM owner from Wickwar is fighting to save the life of her alpaca, called Geronimo.

The 6-year-old Alpaca was brought to the UK by farm owner and veterinary Nurse Helen Macdonald, 47, in August 2017.

Upon Geronimo's arrival Helen had him tested, voluntarily, for tuberculosis using the test she has used on the rest of her herd.

Unfortunately, the result was positive.

She believes the test came back with a false positive result due to a number of tests taken just before he left New Zealand, these involved him being injected with tuberculin.

The Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) agreed to a retest but insisted he be given even more tuberculin. The repeated blood test result was a borderline fail with all other tests negative.

Another test was taken, with Geronimo again giving a borderline positive result following biased interpretation of the protocol by Defra.

DEFRA has again written to Miss Macdonald, informing her that they plan to get a court order to enter her farm and kill the animal despite her calls for further tests.

Miss Macdonald, with the support of the British Alpaca Society, has since been in an 11 month long battle with officials, asking for further testing save the life of her alpaca that is facing certain death.

"We are only asking for a further test in order to scientifically investigate," Helen said.

"They are trying to kill him without evidence."

Helen started breeding alpacas in 2002, and has been arguing with the DEFRA that the test was flawed for over almost a year.

Admitting that the ongoing argument may have cost her over £100,000.

Miss Macdonald revealed how she felt 'pressured' by the department.

"They are trying to coerce me into having Geronimo killed," she said.

"I voluntarily tested him and he was positive. Nobody can tell me why they wont retest when they know multiple injections of tuberculin lead

to false positive results, how he has got it though.

"The people who actually developed the test have told me that the interpretation of the results should be treated with caution.

"He doesn't have it. The test itself is not proven to work."

"I believe that they have given him too much tuberculin before the blood test was done, it is proven that can cause a false result."

MP for Thornbury and Yate Luke Hall has also got involved in the debate, writing personally to MP and minister of DEFRA George Eustice to try and convince them to do a third test to remove any doubt.

They are now waiting to hear back regarding a date that a 'fair test' will be taken.

"I'm not stupid, I don't want to risk having an animal which is unhealthy. It is a serious disease so I wouldn't take any chances," Helen continued.

"When an alpaca has tb (experts agree)it dies within 6 months, here we are a year on and he is in the prime of his life. Looking and seeming very fit and


"I have been overwhelmed with support from all over the world. From all over Europe, USA right to Australia and NZ, everyone is affected by this story.

"I am not prepared to be bullied, if the test comes back positive I will stand by that of course, but defra have no scientific data to support their decision, he is fine and will live a happy life."

A DEFRA spokesperson released in a statement: "We are very sympathetic to Geronimo and his owner’s situation just as we are with everyone with animals affected by this terrible disease.

"However, bovine TB causes devastation and distress for farmers and rural communities and that is why we must have robust procedures in place to reduce risk of the disease spreading."