Call for wildlife boss to go over hunt­ing

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News -

Cam­paign­ers are call­ing for the res­ig­na­tion of a wildlife boss who ran a hare hunt for more than 30 years, be­cause he still al­lows hunt­ing on his land.

More than 100,000 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion call­ing for Michael Bax to step down as chair­man of Kent Wildlife Trust af­ter it emerged he was joint Mas­ter of the Blean Bea­gles un­til 2005.

It has also been re­vealed the an­i­mal pro­tec­tion chief al­lows pheas­ant shoot­ing on his farm.

Tom Fit­ton, who set up the pe­ti­tion and is a mem­ber of the Wildlife Trust, said Mr Bax was not a “fit and proper per­son” to be run­ning the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

He said: “The brown hare is an en­dan­gered species across the UK and Mr Bax does not rep­re­sent the views of the trust’s mem­ber­ship who pay their fees to pro­tect wildlife, not slaugh­ter it for plea­sure. Mr Bax is dam­ag­ing the rep­u­ta­tion of not just Kent Wildlife Trust but the trusts in gen­eral. He is not a fit and proper per­son to be run­ning a wildlife con­ser­va­tion char­ity and we call for Kent Wildlife Trust to cut their ties with him im­me­di­ately.

“I am a mem­ber of the trust and I saw a few ru­mours go­ing round on so­cial me­dia about Mr Bax’s past and I did a bit of dig­ging.

“I felt a mix­ture of shock and dis­be­lief when I found out.’’

Of the 100,000 pe­ti­tion sig­na­to­ries, 30,000 are UK-based. Re­spond­ing to the pe­ti­tion, Mr Bax said he un­der­stood hare hunt­ing was an “emo­tive is­sue”.

He said: ‘’Hav­ing lived all my life in the Kent coun­try­side I grew up with beagling, ac­tively in­volved un­til 1995 and one of seven joint masters of the Blean Bea­gles un­til 2005.

“While hunt­ing hares with bea­gles is now con­signed to his­tory, there are still many who par­tic­i­pate in man­aged field sports and hunt within the Act.

“We need to work to­gether if we are to re­verse the cri­sis for wildlife in the coun­try­side.

“I have a daily in­volve­ment in coun­try­side man­age­ment. I recog­nised years ago that the trust was an or­gan­i­sa­tion which was work­ing well with all ru­ral stake­hold­ers, and I’m able to make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion in en­abling that ap­proach to con­tinue.”

More than 100,000 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion call­ing on Michael Bax to step down from the Kent Wildlife Trust

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