London, United Kingdom: Campaigners converged on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s central London office on Monday, urging him to save a condemned alpaca called Geronimo.
Dozens of protesters joined a march to Downing Street from the agriculture ministry, casting doubt on the accuracy of positive tests showing Geronimo has bovine tuberculosis.
Over 80,000 people have signed a petition to stop New Zealand-born Geronimo from being put down as a result, with his owner Helen Macdonald maintaining that two tests had returned false positives and demanding a third test.
MacDonald has vowed to stand in the way of government vets ordered to carry out the planned euthanasia, with Geronimo’s plight making headlines in UK newspapers for days.
Johnson’s father, Stanley, has also given his backing, calling the planned cull “absurd” and a “murderous errand”.
The demonstrators had been due to be accompanied by several alpacas on their march through Westminster, but they were not brought along over safety concerns.
Protest signs held up outside Downing Street read “Justice for Geronimo” and “Retest not death”.
One protester told AFP: “(Geronimo) actually passed the more sensitive test but they (the government) are just ignoring that.
“He got 100 percent biosecurity and there is no evidence suggesting he was in contact with any animal with TB.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice, a former farmer, said he sympathises with Macdonald, a vet and alpaca breeder who has a farm in Gloucestershire, western England.
But he maintains the ministry uses a “highly specific and reliable test” and Geronimo must be put down. Macdonald has previously lost a court challenge of the ruling.