Original article from Kent Live
Kent's very own Dame Kelly Holmes has publicly backed the fight to save Geronimo the alpaca from being euthanised.
Holmes, from Hildenborough, took to Instagram to show her support for Geronimo's owner Helen Macdonald who recently lost a legal battle against the Department of Food, Environmental and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
DEFRA ordered the animal to be euthanised after he twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (BTB), but Macdonald maintains the tests were false positives and he is healthy.
In the caption of her Instagram post, Holmes said: "As a lot of you know, I LOVE my own five alpaca boys, Liquorice, Toffee, Truffle, Polo and Creme Caramel.
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"But I came across this sad case where an owner of this gorgeous boy is in the middle of a battle with DEFRA and High Courts who want to him killed because of fear of BTB.
"So when I was asked to speak to the @thesun I said, I too would FIGHT tooth and nail to save my boys, if I was in the same situation!"
Holmes goes on to explain how Macdonald brought Geronimo to the UK from New Zealand in 2017, where he had tested negative for BTB four times.
However, since arriving in England he has tested positive twice.
She explains how Geronimo was ordered to be slaughtered but Helen, BTB experts, animal welfare campaigners, and alpaca farmers have disputed the accuracy of the Enferplex test which he was given.
Holmes said the tuberculin primer injected into the skin before the test may have induced false positives.
Last Friday the courts agreed to accept a judicial review application over DEFRA's warrant to kill, based on accusations of “material non-disclosure".
The evidence related to information of other animals who had been put down under DEFRA orders but then tested negative for BTB post-mortem.
Holmes added: "DEFRA sent me loads of info on the case so I could see both sides. I am not a vet, I am not an expert but it makes sense that a different test should be allowed!
"So the fight continues and YES I am praying for a good outcome for Geronimo and Helen."
However, a last-ditch legal attempt to save Geronimo was rejected by a high court judge earlier this week, despite a human shield of protestors remaining around his pen in south Gloucestershire.
At the high court in London, Mrs Justice Stacey considered an urgent application for a temporary injunction to halt Geronimo’s euthanasia order.
Cathryn McGahey QC said the corpses of nine other animals that had undergone the same testing showed no signs of the disease after being euthanised.
Macdonald said no other alpacas living close to Geronimo have become ill and that the farm’s biosecurity arrangements are “impeccable”.
However Stacey ruled there was “no prospect” of Macdonald succeeding in her attempt to reopen a previous ruling.
Ned Westaway of the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha) told the court they would give Macdonald the opportunity to make her own arrangements for Geronimo’s destruction.
Macdonald is currently waiting for the arrival of the men or women who will euthanise the eight-year-old camelid.
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