Geronimo DIDN'T have TB

The alpaca whose fate divided the nation amid a four-year legal battle did not have tuberculosis, it can be revealed.

Geronimo was put down by Government vets in August over disputed claims he had the disease.

But post-mortem examinations carried out on the animal have found no trace of bovine tuberculosis.

Geronimo’s owner Helen Macdonald, 50, was adamant that he was not infected and launched a campaign to save him.

But after she lost her lengthy legal fight, officials escorted by police dragged him from her farm near Wickwar, Gloucestershire, to be killed.

It is understood that Miss Macdonald, a registered veterinary nurse, is now considering suing ministers over his slaughter.

Early tests carried out in September were inconclusive on whether the animal had bovine tuberculosis.

No lesions were found on Geronimo’s lungs or respiratory tract – the most common place they are exhibited in an animal with the disease.

However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said its vets had discovered a ‘number of TB-like lesions’ in the liver and lymph nodes.

Further tests have been carried out since to try to establish whether the animal in fact had the disease, including the developing of bacteriological cultures from tissue samples. The results, which have been finalised in the past week, showed no traces of the disease.

The eight-year-old champion alpaca, who was born in New Zealand before being brought to Britain, was consigned for slaughter after he twice tested positive for bTB in 2017.

Miss Macdonald has always disputed the results – but the legal battle concluded with a High Court ruling in July that he should be destroyed.

In August, Defra officials and dozens of police officers forced their way on to Miss Macdonald’s farm to take Geronimo away.