The RSPCA is investigating after a high-profile Europhile lawyer announced he killed a fox with a baseball bat.
Jolyon Maugham sparked Twitter outrage on Thursday when he told his 180,000 followers: “Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How's your Boxing Day going?”
Central London-based Mr Maugham, who has been behind a number of legal challenges against Brexit, was widely condemned.
The RSPCA was then tagged into the post, and said: “This is distressing to hear. We'd urge anyone with firsthand knowledge to report it to us by calling 0300 1234 999.”
Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How's your Boxing Day going?— Jo Maugham QC (@JolyonMaugham) December 26, 2019
In other tweets to concerned Twitter users, the charity said: “We’ve been made aware of this and are looking into it.”
As the backlash continued, Mr Maugham later said he had contacted the charity himself: “To those concerned I have broken the law, I called and spoke to the RSPCA and left my contact details.”
This is distressing to hear. We'd urge anyone with firsthand knowledge to report it to us by calling 0300 1234 999.— RSPCA (England & Wales) (@RSPCA_official) December 26, 2019
Mr Maugham said in other tweets that killing the fox “wasn't a great deal of fun” and that he did it because the animal “got caught up in the protective netting around the chickens [in his garden] and I wasn't sure what else to do”.
He also described how he had been hungover and that he was wearing his wife’s satin kimono as he killed the fox.
Later in the day, Mr Maugham apologised “to those upset by my tweet”.
He went on: “My chickens were very distressed by the fox - both before and after I'd despatched it - and I wanted it out of the way quickly.”