The Daily Telegraph

Head of wildlife trust faces calls to resign over hunting past

- Daily Telegraph Reporter

By NATURE lovers have called for the chairman of a wildlife trust to resign after it emerged that he was the master of a hunt.

Mike Bax, the former High Sheriff of Kent, was appointed head of Kent Wildlife Trust three years ago despite being master of Blean Beagles for “many years”. Kent Wildlife Trust said he has “no formal links” with the Beagles now.

Critics say Mr Bax’s involvemen­t with the pack and role at the charity – which proclaims to be “Protecting Wildlife for the Future” – is a conflict of interest. A spokesman for the animal rights group Stop the Cull said: “It is hypocritic­al to say you are interested in wildlife and then go out and support killing it.”

Dozens of critics have also emailed the trust calling for Mr Bax to be investigat­ed and sacked, or for his immediate resignatio­n. Writing online, Lynne Aldridge said: “Should the Charity Commission review his appointmen­t?”

Pat Webb added: “That’s unbelievab­le. He’s obviously no animal lover!”

Tim Salt wrote: “Just messaged the Kent Wildlife Trust, asking when this moron will stand down.”

It is not known whether Blean Beagles have been involved in illegal hunting. When The Blean Beagles Ltd was registered as a company in 2005, it stated its aim was to “promote the sport and practice of Beagling”.

Beagling is the hunting of hares or rabbits by scent by a pack of 10 or more hounds. The Hunting Act 2004 banned the hunting of wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales.

As well as his role at the trust, Mr Bax, 62, from Ashford, is the director of land and property specialist­s BTF Partnershi­p’s rural team. He sits on the Kent Economic Board and is one of the driving forces behind Rural PLC, “the voice of rural business in Kent”.

He was High Sheriff of Kent between 2012 and 2013.

Kent Wildlife Trust said: “Mike Bax has been a member of Kent Wildlife Trust for nearly 30 years and chairman for three. He has a deep interest in wildlife matters and manages his own farm with wildlife foremost in mind.

“Mike was master of Blean Beagles for many years but has no formal links with them now. Pursuing live quarry with dogs is illegal and all associated with Kent Wildlife Trust support the law in this regard.”

Mr Bax said his active involvemen­t with the Blean Beagles is “relatively historic”. He claims he has had “no role” in the Beagles’ affairs since 2005.

He added: “The Beagles are run by a committee with which I have had no involvemen­t, nor am I a current subscriber.” Baily’s Hunting Directory lists Mr Bax, as one of the hunt masters.

‘It is hypocritic­al to say you are interested in wildlife and then go out and support killing it’

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