Britain is a nation of animal lovers. From prioritising former-Marine and potty-mouth Pen Farthing’s 200 dogs and cats over Afghan women and children to the tens-of-thousands of people who signed a petition to save an alpaca from the same fate that hundreds of less cuddly cattle face daily, we show the world that we really do care about some things.
The passing of Geronimo is a sad day for owner Helen Macdonald, a veterinary nurse who has valiantly fought the government tooth-and-nail to save her eight year old alpaca from the DEFRA hangman’s noose. But at 11am yesterday morning a brave but resigned Geronimo was calmly led by police to a waiting vehicle and taken to an undisclosed location where he stoically faced his execution.
Meanwhile his supporters made their feelings known with protestors sporting #SaveGeronomo t-shirts and banners, with one activist briefly arrested (and then wisely un-arrested) for squirting a police officer with a water pistol.
The world’s most famous alpaca led a lonely life. Bought over to provide wool for Macdonald’s alpaca farm from paradise in New Zealand in 2017, the animal twice tested positive for bovine TB on arrival and spent the rest of its life separated from all other alpacas. While Geronimo was able to watch them having fun together, he was barred from lolloping along with them.
The world's most famous alpaca led a lonely life...
Meanwhile Macdonald fought the government for four years, taking her appeal through the courts, which all upheld the death penalty. When this failed she mounted an extraordinarily effective PR campaign to save the animal.
With the likes of Chris Packham, Joanna Lumley and Boris’s dad Stanley on the case, Geronimo couldn’t have hoped for better representation and a petition to save the creature generated over 150,000 signatures.
A fitting, if depressing, end to the August 'silly season'...
However, Environment Secretary George Eustace was unwilling to make an exception and bend the law in the face of public outcry.
Which probably makes sense, given the fact that hundreds of farmers face the extermination of entire herds of cattle daily, often losing their livelihoods in the process. An exception for Geronimo would’ve been a blow for an already struggling livestock industry.
But it’s a blow too for Helen Macdonald, not to mention Geronimo, who now makes his way to the giant glue factory in the sky. A fitting, if depressing, end to the August ‘silly season’.
DEFRA have arrived! We are asking once again for an urgent meeting with George Eustice. Please don’t execute Geronimo.
— helen macdonald (@alpacapower) August 31, 2021