Geronimo: BVA president backs vets in alpaca argument

British Veterinary Association (BVA) president James Russell has come to the side of the vets who undertook the post-mortem examination of the popular alpaca Geronimo, in the midst of controversary over their findings.

In a tweet yesterday (September 9), Russell wrote:

“The integrity of vets undertaking the Geronimo PME (post-mortem examination) being questioned is alarming.

These are professionals doing a difficult job. And also decent people who deserve to be treated with respect, like (Christine Middlemiss), working to rid our country of bTB.”

Earlier this week (September 8) the post-examination results for Geronimo – an alpaca that tested positive for TB twice and was recently euthanised following a High Court death sentence – confirmed ‘TB like’ lesions.

In the statement by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), chief veterinary officer Dr. Christine Middlemiss announced the results of the post-mortem examination:

“A number of TB-like lesions were found and in line with standard practice these are now undergoing further investigation,” she said.

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.”

For some, the phrase ‘TB like’ is up for debate.

One twitter user had this to say:

TB-Like lesions” really (?) it’s either TB or it’s not TB what is it ? You can’t have it both ways.”

Others gathered in protest outside Defra offices in central London.