Last week, we released part one of our episode with Helen MacDonald, giving you the chance to get the know the person behind the scandal surrounding Geronimo the alpaca. If you haven’t tuned in already, we highly recommend listening to part one before you listen to this week’s episode which will focus on Geronimo’s story.

Geronimo was born on Waitangi Day (6th of February) in 2013 at New Zealand’s largest alpaca farm. In 2017, Geronimo was sold to Helen, who at that time had been breeding alpacas at her farm for more than 15 years.

She imported him to the United Kingdom in August after he had four skin tests for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) which returned negative results. Once he arrived in the UK, Geronimo was kept in quarantine and tested positive in two voluntary blood tests.

As a result of the positive tests, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) ordered that Geronimo had to be euthanised. After years of court battles, protests and celebrity interventions, Geronimo, the UK’s most divisive alpaca, was put down by government officials on 31 August 2021. We sat down with Helen just over a year after Geronimo’s death to hear her side of the story. 

Helen explains why she brought geronimo to the UK, the biosecurity measures her farm has in place and reveals why she thinks there is insufficient evidence as to the accuracy of DEFRA’s testing process.  

She believes that she and Geronimo received exceptional treatment during the horrific events that took place between 2017 and 2021 and that Geronimo experienced unnecessary distress and animal cruelty when he was taken away from her farm to be euthanised. We also discuss why Geronimos post-mortem results are seen as inconclusive.

However, this is not the end of the story…

Helen explains how a campaign group came together to fight for Geronimo’s Law, which aims to refine TB policy, biosecurity and animal welfare in the UK and shares how you can get involved. Lastly, Helen reflects on the silver linings that have come about as a result of this experience – as well as her hopes for the future.

We know that this is a very divisive topic, and we want to remind everyone that above all, we need to show compassion and kindness to each other. In our industry, we need to stop having arguments and start having conversations. The views expressed by our guests may not necessarily represent our views, but we do believe that everyone deserves a fair and impartial platform to be able to share their stories. 

Guest Profiles and Useful Links

Episode Transcript and CPD Certificate


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