Geronimo the alpaca has been killed by Government vets after being removed from a farm earlier today.
The animal was rounded by police as other alpacas watched on from a nearby field at the farm near Wickwar, South Gloucestershire.
After it was loaded into a trailer and taken away, the animal was executed.
Defra said in a statement: “The infected animal was moved from the premises and euthanised by staff from the Animal and Plant Health Agency as a necessary measure to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).”
Geronimo had twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and a destruction warrant was ordered for the animal, although owner Helen Macdonald believed the tests returned false positives.
Earlier this month, Macdonald lost a High Court appeal to save her pet, which first tested positive for tuberculosis in 2017 and has been in isolation ever since.
At the time of the appeal, a spokesperson from Defra said they were “sympathetic” to Macdonald’s situation but were sure that the animal should be executed.
“Bovine tuberculosis is one of the greatest animal health threats we face today and causes devastation and distress for farming families and rural communities across the country, while costing the taxpayer around £100m every year,” they said.
“Therefore, while nobody wants to cull infected animals, we need to do everything we can to tackle this disease to stop it spreading and to protect the livelihoods of those affected.”
However, there were multiple protests and petitions signed by thousands of people calling on the government to save the animal.
Downing Street has also expressed sympathy for Helen Macdonald, with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman saying: “It’s obviously highly distressing for someone to lose animals to TB and that’s a situation that farmers sadly have to face.
“Our sympathies are with Ms Macdonald and any others that are affected by this terrible disease.”
Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “This is a terribly sad situation and our sympathies remain with all those affected by this devastating disease.
“No one wants to have to cull infected animals if it can be avoided, but we need to follow the scientific evidence and cull animals that have tested positive for bTB to minimise spread of this insidious disease and ultimately eradicate the biggest threat to animal health in this country.
“Not only is this essential to protect the livelihoods of our farming industry and rural communities, but it is also necessary avoid more TB cases in humans.”
Defra said a post-mortem examination will be carried out by veterinary pathologists from the APHA.
People have been following the journey on social media.
As Geronimo’s life has come to an end, here are some photos and videos documenting the scenes and how people on social media are reacting:
Sad but necessary.
Geronimo died so that others may live.