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Geronimo the alpaca

(11 Posts)
Frizzywizzy Mon 06-Sep-21 18:41:32

Sorry for the long post but I would like to add another post about Geronimo because I just wonder how many of us have read background papers about his case?

Let’s not forget that Geronimo was primed or ‘boosted’ FIVE times with tuberculin.

In the Vet’s letter in the Vet Times, “Defra bTB scientist Ricardo de la Rua Domenech stated that: ‘The negative impact of the administration of tuberculin on the specificity of antibody tests in TB-free animals (i.e. the likelihood of false positive results) is a potential concern when antibody tests are used outside TB breakdown situations.’

“In 2020, 199 camelids were killed following a ‘positive’ diagnosis by skin or blood tests involving prior administration of tuberculin. Of 56 submitted for postmortem examination, only 4 had postmortem evidence of bTB, and successful culture of bTB was only achieved in 7 of the 35 animals where this was attempted.”

Note, an exceedingly high rate of ‘false positive’ results.

Eleanor Brown, bTB Scientist stated to the High Court that there has been NO trial carried out to find out whether repeated injections of tuberculin give rise to a higher proportion of positive antibodies.

Worth repeating, there is ABSOLUTELY NO RESEARCH to show whether being primed ONCE, never mind FIVE times, as in Geronimo’s case, will produce a false positive. This was why Helen had grave doubts about the ‘positive’ results and why she firmly believed that her boy was free of bTB. Without the essential scientific research papers, she did everything in her power to try and save him.

What seems strange to me is that when we have a COVID vaccination, we produce ‘memory cells’ and our bodies then produce antibodies to protect us from infection by COVID. Similarity, Camelids are primed with tuberculin with the intention of boosting the levels of antibodies in the blood. In Geronimo’s case, he was primed FIVE times with tuberculin in the run up to the final Enferplex blood test. He was given 0.1ml of ‘a purified, sterile cocktail of proteins extracted from dead bovine TB bacteria.’

So, in total, Geronimo received 0.5ml of avian and bovine tuberculin and was expected to produce memory cells (exactly the same as us) but was not expected to produce antibodies?

As a comparison, people are injected with either only 0.3ml (Pfizer-BioNTech) or 0.5ml (Moderna and AstraZeneca) and ARE expected to show an antibody response. Does that make sense to you? Not to me, it doesn’t.

Geronimo should never have been killed by DEFRA, especially in the abhorrent way that he was.

The truly sad thing is that then DEFRA refused to have an independent Vet present at the post-mortem or to take blood samples independently. With a huge public back-lash when DEFRA was seen to abuse Geronimo as he was dragged from the farm, they do not want Geronimo to be proved clear of TB.

I am shocked and saddened beyond words that Geronimo was slaughtered so unjustly. He was a gorgeous stud alpaca, in the prime of his life. Helen as his dedicated owner, has acted responsibly, driven through love for her beloved boy and a need to prove that the bTB testing system is flawed for the benefit of all farmers.

Blossoming Mon 06-Sep-21 19:03:21

I have read a lot of background about this case, including the owner’s own website praising the test she later disputed.

Blossoming Mon 06-Sep-21 19:06:20

Link attached so you can see the above for yourself. I think there is a lot more going on than has been reported.

Frizzywizzy Tue 07-Sep-21 08:35:30

Thank you for your message Blossoming.

The team at Enferplex and SureTest were sent the all the detail from Geronimo’s final test for their comments and having studied these, expressed doubt that Geronimo was a true positive for bTB.

This was a huge statement to make as it cast doubt upon their own diagnostic test. DEFRA retaliated by saying they will have to seriously consider withdrawing use of their product as a validated test for camelids.

Helen had confidence in the Enferplex test to begin with but confidence waned as further information came to light. Surely this is understandable?

For example, the 199 camelids killed in 2020 following a ‘positive’ test result. Of those tested, only a small number had evidence of TB. This has got to be extremely concerning for all alpaca owners/farmers.

Peasblossom Tue 07-Sep-21 09:07:21

Without wanting to get into the argument as to whether DEFRA acted humanely, I think you’re a bit muddled about the priming test and it’s comparison to Covid vaccination.

The tuberculin priming test detects levels of antibodies already in the blood from previous infection. It doesn’t create antibodies where none exist as a vaccination does.

They are quite different things.

Whitewavemark2 Wed 08-Sep-21 12:56:00

Nothing wrong with him!!

But defra saying we must wait 22 weeks to see if they can squeeze a positive result from samples, by which time it will be water under the bridge.

Frizzywizzy Fri 10-Sep-21 10:59:12

Thank you for for your message peasblossom. I’m well aware that the 0.5 ml (in total) of tuberculin has been given to BOOST any antibodies in the blood from a previous infection.

However, the facts remain that he was given a large amount of tuberculin and that there has been ABSOLUTELY NO RESEARCH AS TO THE EFFECT THIS WILL HAVE ON AN ALPACA. Absolutely none.

This is why the test used in 2017 is not validated for use in alpacas.

As there has been no research done, why are you defending DEFRA and the testing system so robustly?

Surely it is in everyone’s interest to improve the current TB strategy because far too many cattle and camelids are dying after false positive test results. The unnecessary loss of life is tragic.

Frizzywizzy Fri 10-Sep-21 11:15:37

Of course, I agree with you whitewavemark2.

Helen Mcdonald had the results of the post-mortem but then the Chief Veterinary Officer stepped in to muddy the waters. Sow confusion. The public no longer know who to believe!

But SURELY a Government department such as DEFRA are the ones to be believed? You can’t trust those animal rights activists after all! Can you?

Well actually, you can trust Helen Mcdonald, her Vets, the alpaca owners, the cattle farmers and the compassionate and concerned members of the public who are supporting both her and a need for a better TB testing system. (‘The animal rights activists’) Actually just ordinary people standing up for honesty, decency and a better TB testing system for all.

What can possibly be wrong with that?

Peasblossom Fri 10-Sep-21 14:19:20

I don’t think I defended DEFRA at all. In fact I said I didn’t want to express an opinion on their actions. I’d like you to acknowledge that.

You said you didn’t understand why Astra Seneca was expect to produce antibodies and the Tbt wasn’t. I was trying to be helpful in explaining that one generates antibodies and the other identifies existing ones. You said “Does that make sense to you”

Well, yes because they are two different things. There hasn’t been research on whether the Priimer also generates extra antibodies as well as identifying existing ones. So nobody knows one way or the other. Not DEFRA or you.

However, accusations to somebody who is simply explaining a fact (that you have enquired about after all) is not helpful to your cause. What is needed is factual research. In the absence of that you seem to be relying on an indignant and emotional barrage to put forward your point of view.

Me, I like a nice, well researched fact.

Frizzywizzy Thu 16-Sep-21 19:45:37

I totally agree we need factual research into what happens when an alpaca has been primed multiple times and this is what is lacking. Given this lack of research and Geronimo’s unique situation, I am shocked and saddened that DEFRA chose to have him slaughtered.

I don’t think I’ve been emotional at all, I’m simply trying to put facts across. No emotional barrage from me - just concern that yet another potentially TB free alpaca has been slaughtered. And not forgetting all the healthy cattle that have needlessly been slaughtered too.

Shandy57 Thu 16-Sep-21 20:01:56

As a townie I hadn't come across DEFRA until I moved to the countryside, and witnessed first hand the brutal shambles of the Foot and Mouth SOS shootings.

I feel the same about them as the DWP.