Doomed alpaca sparks uproar against UK Prime Minister Johnson

LONDON, Aug. 9 (Reuters) – The fate of an eight-year-old alpaca named Geronimo has sparked an outcry against British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after his government ordered the animal to be slaughtered for testing positive for bovine tuberculosis.

The order to kill the alpaca prompted owner Helen Macdonald to demand that Johnson and his wife Carrie show mercy, prompting some celebrities to demand that the Prime Minister move away from what they called a relationship disaster public.

A march to Johnson’s base in Downing Street by Geronimo fans is scheduled for Monday and more than 97,000 people have signed a petition calling for the creature to be saved.

As ministers insisted Geronimo should be shot, Johnson’s father, Stanley, 80, called for “judicial execution” to be avoided so Geronimo could live in peace in the English county of Gloucestershire .

“I hope and believe his execution can be avoided even at this late stage,” Johnson’s father told The Sun tabloid, adding that he hoped owner Macdonald would prevent Agriculture Department staff to “carry out their absurd murderous mission”.

Macdonald, a veterinary nurse, said the alpaca was negative when brought in from New Zealand and spent thousands of pounds in a failed legal battle to save the animal. She told The Sun that she would “take a bullet” for the alpaca.

Agriculture Secretary George Eustice said while Geronimo’s fate was sad, the rules were clear that animals that tested positive for bovine tuberculosis must be killed.

British ministers have been grilled for days over Geronimo’s fate.

Interviewed on Sky, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “It’s obviously difficult because there are a lot of people who get emotionally invested in an animal story, but there is a policy , and there’s a reason the policy shouldn’t be stopped. “

Macdonald did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Sarah Young Editing by David Holmes

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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