Michael Gove approves the largest destruction of a protected species in living memory

From InsideEcology: The Badger Trust has condemned the decision by Michael Gove, Environment Secretary, to approve 11 new badger cull licences in England in 2018, bringing the total in operation to 31.

As a result of this major expansion of badger cull, 40,892 badgers could be killed by the end of 2018, more than during the last 5 years of the badger cull combined.

Despite a huge increase in the number of badgers to be killed, the Government has yet to provide any reliable evidence that badger culling is having any significant impact on lowering bovine TB in cattle in or around the cull zones.

With no effective independent monitoring of cull contractors, the Badger Trust is also increasingly concerned that badgers will die long painful deaths due to the continued use of controlled shooting, a culling method which is condemned as inhumane by the British Veterinary Association.

The Badger Trust has already raised serious animal welfare concerns with Natural England over the trapping of badgers for up to 12 hours in cages in the heat wave in Gloucestershire and Somerset, under existing supplementary cull licences which have been operation since June.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg and 7 other Tory MPs make more from second jobs than Jeremy Corbyn earns in total

From Political Scrapbook: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow Chancellor John McDonnell have published their tax returns for the third consecutive year today. They showed Corbyn earned £136,762 from MP’s pay, his salary as leader of the opposition and pension, while McDonnell made £87,353 from MP’s pay and pension.

The amount earned by the leaders of the opposition pale into insignificance when compared to the sums raked in by top Tories from their side jobs alone. The register of MPs’ interests shows:

  • Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is now favourite to become the next Tory leader, made £173,854 in the 2016/17 tax year from Somertset Capital, the investment firm he runs with Tory donor Dominic Johnson.
  • Nadine Dorries earned £144,000 over the same period for working 12 hours-a-week for a publishing company. She was previously forced to apologise for failing to declare her £82,000 ‘I’m a Celebrity’ appearance fee.
  • Michael Gove was paid £150,000 for writing a column for the Times before rejoining the Cabinet.
  • John Redwood, who wants to scrap workers’ rights from the EU, is being paid £183,600-a-year for a 75 hour-a-quarter commitment to an investment advisory firm.
  • Andrew Mitchell, who doesn’t know how much the rate of the minimum wage, is making £156,000-a-year from four separate side jobs.
  • Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, is raking in a whopping £222,168-a-year from three different side jobs.
  • And Nadhim Zahawi, the Children’s Minister who attended the Presidents Club gropefest, made £148,000 for just five months work as the Chief Strategy Officer for an oil firm before leaving the role in December.