An alpaca whose life hangs in the balance will live another day after an urgent High Court hearing was adjourned.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has ordered the destruction of Geronimo after the animal twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis.
But his owner Helen Macdonald believes the tests are returning false positives. She has been refused permission to have a third test.
Earlier this month she lost her appeal at the High Court in London to save the alpaca and a warrant was signed for its destruction.
The case has been met with a wave of support from the public , with more than 130,000 people signing a petition calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to halt the killing.
Ms Macdonald, who owns a farm at Wickwar near Bristol, imported Geronimo from New Zealand in 2017.
An urgent application for a temporary injunction to halt the enforcement of the destruction order was considered by Mrs Justice Stacey at the High Court in London on Tuesday.
More on Boris Johnson
- Afghanistan: Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab ‘missing in action’ over Taliban takeover, says Sir Keir Starmer
- Boris Johnson set to announce resettlement scheme for Afghans ‘most in need’ after Taliban takeover
- Afghanistan must not become ‘breeding ground for terror’ once again, PM says
- Carrie Johnson urges other pregnant women to get vaccine after getting her second jab
- Geronimo the alpaca: Government insists decision to put animal down will not be reversed as protesters march on Downing Street
- The ‘back to work’ debate: Remote, office and hybrid after COVID?
The judge said she would need further informational from both Ms Macdonald and government lawyers before making a decision. The hearing will now resume on Wednesday afternoon.
Lawyers for Ms Macdonald told the court Geronimo first tested positive for bovine tuberculosis in September 2017 and has been living in isolation since.
Catrin McGahey QC told the court that though Defra has argued in previous hearings that there was a “residual risk” to other animals, they had also agreed that Ms Macdonald’s bio-security arrangements are “impeccable”.
She also argued that following publicity of Geronimo’s case it had emerged in a newspaper that other animals subjected to the same testing regime as the alpaca have showed no signs of the disease after being euthanised.
She told the court: “That information absolutely should have been before the two (previous) judges.”
Ned Westaway, for Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, argued that Ms Macdonald has no right of appeal against the previous High Court decision and that “speculation” from a newspaper article was the basis of the latest court bid.
Mr Westaway said: “The suggestion of material non-disclosure (from Defra) is, frankly, unfounded.”
He also confirmed Defra will not execute the warrant until this issue is resolved.
The judge said that Ms Macdonald’s lawyers should decide what evidence they want Defra to produce and a time estimate of how long that may take before reaching a decision on whether to grant the injunction.
She added the delay for that further information to be obtained was no indication of her ultimate decision.
Defra will be able to slaughter Geronimo if the judge refuses the application as there is no further right to appeal for Ms Macdonald. He will survive until a further hearing can be held if the application is granted.
Last week the government insisted it had looked “very carefully” at all the evidence on the animal’s condition.
A Defra spokesman said: “There are no plans to execute the warrant today.
“We are sympathetic to Ms Macdonald’s situation, just as we are with everyone with animals affected by this terrible disease.
“It is for this reason that the testing results and options for Geronimo have been very carefully considered by Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and its veterinary experts, as well as passing several stages of thorough legal scrutiny.”
The British Alpaca Society said the case between Defra and Ms Macdonald has “considerably undermined confidence” in the voluntary bovine TB testing regime in the UK.
Badgers have also been a victim of the fight against bovine TB, with mass culling employed to stop the spread since 2013, sparking a public backlash.
- Hijab Row: Karnataka steps up vigil; High Court hearing today
- High Court Hears 2 Cases Involving Assisted Suicide
- Hijab row: Karnataka High Court refers case to larger bench
- Hijab row: Student files plea in Supreme Court challenging Karnataka High Court order
- Resume classes; don't wear anything that instigates: Karnataka High Court to hijab case petitioner
- RIL | Future Group: Delhi High Court stays single bench order restraining Future Group from going ahead with RIL deal
- Bendigo mosque appeal request thrown out by High Court
- Delhi High Court, district courts to resume complete physical functioning from March 2
- Hijab row: Hearing concludes for the day, Karnataka High Court adjourns matter for tomorrow
- Hijab Row: Karnataka High Court to hear petition today; schools, colleges shut for 3 days - key points
Geronimo the alpaca lives to fight another day as High Court hearing postponed have 820 words, post on news.sky.com at August 17, 2021. This is cached page on U.S News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.