Barrister who bludgeoned fox to death with baseball bat faces calls for police to investigate as killing branded 'disgusting'
A leading barrister who bludgeoned a fox to death with a baseball bat is facing calls for police to investigate the killing, as he is branded “disgusting” by an MP.
Jolyon Maugham QC was accused of acting barbarically by animal rights supporters and calls have now emerged for him to face legal action over the killing.
Nigel Evans, Conservative MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire, told The Telegraph his actions were “disgusting”, adding: “It is beyond understanding. He should face the full force of the law.”
Mr Maugham’s local councillor, Labour’s Richard Livingstone, said on Twitter: “For the removal of any doubt, Southwark Council’s policy towards foxes does not in any way support bludgeoning them to death.”
Wildlife presenter Chris Packham also stepped in to condemn the barrister, saying he “battered a fox to death…then bragged about it”.
Lorraine Platt, co-founder of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, added: “It is sad to hear of a wild animal being killed in such an extremely savage way.
“Would a cat or dog intruder found trapped in the netting to protect the chickens in the garden be treated in the same brutal manner and clubbed to death with a baseball bat?
“Wild animals deserve the same protection from unnecessary suffering as domesticated animals. Nobody is above the law”.
Mr Maugham repeatedly hit the wild animal after it got caught in netting protecting his chickens in the back garden of his central London home, where he lives with his wife and three children.
The 48-year-old, who backed Gina Miller’s Supreme Court challenge to Boris Johnson’s proroguing of parliament, revealed to his Twitter followers that he had killed the fox early in the morning on Boxing Day while dressed in his wife’s satin kimono.
He said his chickens were “very distressed” and he “wasn’t sure what else to do”, but apologised to those who were “upset” by his actions.
He explained that there wasn’t time for him to go back inside and Google the best course of action, so instinctively grabbed the baseball bat he keeps in the house.
The RSPCA have said they are investigating the incident and have called on any witnesses to come forward.
Mr Maugham became embroiled in the row when he tweeted on December 26: “Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How’s your Boxing Day going?”
He added: “No one should relish killing animals – and I certainly didn’t. But if you haven’t been up close to a large trapped fox, perhaps reserve judgment.
“To be quite honest, although I don’t enjoy killing things, it does come with the territory if you’re a meat eater. There is no nice way to kill an animal but it was very swift “.
The barrister said he reported himself to the RSPCA and the animal charity removed the fox from his home.
Causing unnecessary suffering to an animal is illegal under the Animal Welfare Act and is punishable by either a prison sentence or a fine of up to £20,000.
Mr Maugham practises tax law out of Devereux Chambers in central London and has been a QC since 2015. He told The Telegraph he did not wish to comment.
The number of urban foxes have increased significantly in the last 20 years. They are classed as wild animals rather than pests, and councils have no legal power to eradicate them.
Southwark Council’s website lists a number of ways in which foxes can be deterred, which include keeping rubbish bags in closed bins rather than leaving them out.
Hunt supporters filmed attacking saboteurs with fox carcass
Hunt supporters have been filmed attacking saboteurs with the bloodied body of a dead fox, as police launch an investigation into the incident.
Footage shows a man swinging the roadkill against the vehicle, leaving smears of blood on its windows, during the Badsworth Hunt in Kirk Smeaton, North Yorkshire, on Boxing Day
The clip was published online by Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs, a group which disrupts blood sports including fox and hare hunting, grouse and pheasant shooting, and badger baiting.
It appears to show the saboteurs trying to drive past hunting supporters on a country lane before a man runs up to the vehicle carrying a fox.
Holding its tail in one hand, he slams it against the glass four times, finally hurling it towards the car as it drives away.
One of the handful of passengers can be heard shouting “they’ve got a dead fox” as another pleads with them to “stop it”.
North Yorkshire Police said they are investigating the incident, which happened at about midday. The saboteurs claim parts of their vehicle were smashed off during the confrontation.
Wildlife presenter Chris Packham led the way in condemning the attack, posting on his Twitter account: “If there is anyone in the U.K. left with any ambiguous ideas about whether we should end fox hunting immediately then watch this. This is the 21st century in a so-called civilised country and it’s beyond bloody belief.”
Social media users who viewed the footage described is as “absolutely shameful” and said they were in “disbelief” that someone would use a carcass to attack someone.
One person wrote: “This is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen”.
Polly Portwin, a spokesperson for the rural campaigning group, the Countryside Alliance, said: “We condemn this utterly despicable behaviour by this group of individuals whom we are told are not connected to the hunt in any way.
“We understand these were local people whose appalling actions have brought hunting into disrepute and we sincerely hope they will be held to account.”
Fox hunting involves horse riders following a pack of dogs which try to sniff out the scent of a fox, before chasing and killing it.
The sport has been illegal in England and Wales since 2004 when the Hunting Act was introduced. It is still legal in Northern Ireland.
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