Euthanised Geronimo The Alpaca’s Postmortem Results Disputed

by : Emily Brown on : 08 Sep 2021 13:29
Euthanised Geronimo The Alpaca's Postmortem Results DisputedPA Images

The post-mortem examination conducted on Geronimo the alpaca reportedly revealed evidence of bovine tuberculosis (bTB), but the results are being disputed. 

Last week, his owner Helen MacDonald accused government officials of hiding from her how Geronimo was killed after the Department for Environment, Fisheries and Rural Areas (DEFRA) ordered that he be destroyed following two positive bTB tests.


In the wake of the orders, Geronimo was led away on August 31 by officials wearing blue hazmat suits from his home in South Gloucestershire before reportedly being killed shortly afterwards.

Following the preliminary post-mortem,  Government Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Christine Middlemiss said in a statement, ‘A number of TB-like lesions were found and in line with standard practice these are now undergoing further investigation.

‘These tests include the developing of bacteriological cultures from tissue samples which usually takes several months – we would expect to complete the full post-mortem and culture process by the end of the year.’


Lawyers acting for veterinary nurse Macdonald said she requested a copy of the post-mortem examination and later received a letter from the Government Legal Department containing the preliminary findings. The results were then reviewed by veterinary surgeons supporting Macdonald, according to Wales Online

In a statement, the lawyers said:

As reviewed by Dr Iain McGill and Dr Bob Broadbent, the preliminary gross post-mortem findings are negative for visible lesions typical of Bovine Tuberculosis.

For clarity there are no white or cream caseous, enlarged abscesses typical for bTB in alpacas whether in the lungs, bronchial, mediastinal or retropharyngeal lymph nodes.

Ms Macdonald has formally requested the full findings of the post-mortem report ‘Form TB50’, together with all relevant documents and the results of further tests… along with the results of histopathogical examination.

She has further requested that both fresh, frozen and formalin fixed tissue and fluid samples be preserved and provided to an independent expert to carry out further tests.


Supporters of Macdonald have branded Eustice a ‘murderer’, with a demonstration taking place outside his office by outraged animal activists.

Campaigner Dominic Dyer reportedly described Geronimo’s capture as ‘one of the most brutal incidents of animal crime in this country [he has] ever seen’.

Prior to Geronimo’s death, Macdonald was campaigning for a delay to his destruction, arguing the tests returned false positives. The owner requested that Geronimo undergo a third test, or that if the results were correct he be allowed to live to aid research into the disease.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: Animals, no-article-matching, Now


Wales Online
  1. Wales Online

    Lawyer says first post-mortem shows Geronimo the alpaca did not have TB