British government vets euthanized Geronimo, an alpaca whose death sentence for carrying bovine tuberculosis made international headlines and pitted animal defenders against the state on Tuesday.
Veterinarians in blue overalls, masks and goggles, escorted by police officers, arrived at a farm in the west of England where the animal lived and removed it from its cage. The scene was witnessed by activists and journalists camping on a farm in Wickwar, 175 kilometers (110 miles) west of London, vowing to stop the massacre.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed that the animal was euthanized.
Camel was sentenced to death after two positive tests for bovine tuberculosis. Its owner, Helen Macdonald, argued the test was a false positive and was fighting for a third test, but earlier this month a higher judge rejected her request to terminate the death warrant and reopen the case.
Bovine tuberculosis can damage livestock and affect agricultural income. The British have been slaughtering animals, especially badgers, for a decade, but the practice remains controversial.
The government says 27,000 head of cattle were slaughtered in 2020 to slow the spread of the disease.
“This is a very sad situation and our condolences remain with all those affected by this devastating disease,” said UK Veterinary Director Christine Middlemiss.
“No one wants to put an infected animal to sleep if it can be avoided. But we must follow scientific evidence and euthanize animals that test positive for bTB to minimize the spread of this dangerous disease,” he said.