Remove pro-hunting Mike Bax from his position as Chairman of Kent Wildlife Trust

Michael Bax served as Chairman of the Hare-hunting group the Blean Beagles between 1971 and 2005 (although Baily's Hunt Directory lists him as being 'Joint Master' until as late as 2016). He also currently allows a pheasant shoot on his land. In 2014 and beyond all comprehension, Bax became Chairman of Kent Wildlife Trust.

It has also been discovered that Bax's business, BTF Partnership, sponsored game shoots in Kent in July 2014, three months after Bax became Chair of Kent Wildlife Trust. He also donated a 'tide flight' to an auction that would take place in the autumn/winter of that year. A tide flight is a bird shoot that takes place in watery areas at a time when the tide is changing and birds and ducks are at their most active. In 2016, he personally conducted an auction to raise funds for the shooting of wildlife; the largest bid being £1,600 for the shooting of ducks on the Isle of Sheppey. Many wading birds are included on the 'Birds of Conservation Concern Review' and that the Chairman of Kent Wildlife Trust would sponsor their slaughter is unthinkable! The slaughter of birds aside, Bax's shoots will also be pumping lead shot into the atmosphere and our estuaries. 

BTF also sponsor the Ashford Valley Tickham Hunt (fox-hunters). One of the Ashford Valley's terriermen were caught on camera disturbing a badger sett. The Joint Master of the hunt, Brian Fraser, was jailed for possession of a shotgun without a licence. 

Another group that BTF are sponsoring is the Southdown and Eridge Hunt. The Southdown and Eridge Hunt have a violent recent history, including a conviction for the stabbing of an anti-hunt protestor. That Bax financially supports these groups is worrying enough, but that he is also the former High Sheriff of Kent and current Chairman of both Kent Crimestoppers and the Crime Rural Advisory Group is even more disturbing!

The Brown Hare is listed as a 'priority species' on both Kent's and the UK's 'Biodiversity Action Plan', due to a 'dramatic decline in numbers', caused by agricultural practices and hunting. According to the 'Hare Preservation Trust' the UK's Brown Hare population has declined by 80% since 1880; numbers are low in Kent. Bax does not represent the views of Kent Wildlife Trust's membership who pay their fees to protect wildlife, not to slaughter it for pleasure.

Bax's association with Kent Wildlife Trust has been condemned by members, conservationists, animal welfare organisations and politicians, ranging from Chris Packham to PETA.

Working with people of all beliefs and backgrounds is fine; but that is not the issue here. Kent Wildlife Trust have appointed a person who actively goes against the charity's mission statement (the reason members provide their donations). Bax is damaging the reputation of not just Kent Wildlife Trust, but the Wildlife 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.

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Additional info:

One of Bax's business partners, Stuart Sillars of BTF Partnership is currently listed as 'Joint Master', 'Huntsman' and 'Hare Conservationist' for the Blean Beagles and has been Huntsman since 1996. He has also been photographed and caught on video as recently as 4th March 2017 with a pack of Beagles in the Kentish countryside. Another of Bax's business partners, this time Charles Tassell of Rural PLC, is propping Bax up in his role as a trustee at Kent Wildlife Trust. Richard Thomas, another of Bax's business partners at BTF Partnership, also donated a day's shoot to the same auction that Bax did. Advertising 'Expected bag 50-75 pheasants and possibly an unlucky duck'.

Update #117 days ago
Kent Wildlife Trust recently released a statement in reaction to this petition. CEO John Bennett stated that the Trust needs to work with people of all beliefs in order for the Trust's work to be effective. For a Trust who claims they need to work with everybody, they seem to work mainly with farmers. James Teacher, Chair 1988-1999 was Master of the Quorn hunt. Why not appoint a member of the League Against Cruel Sports?

Hunters are not conservationists.

Please keep sharing.

Thanks

Tom
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