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13 May 2015

After a ten-year legal battle, the Prince Charles “black spider” letters are released

But what's the Patagonian Toothfish got to do with it?

By media mole

Good news for transparency and Patagonian Toothfish! Bad news for badgers and monarchs!

After a decade of legal wrangling with the Guardian, the government has finally published Prince Charles’ “black spider” memos. His 27 letters to ministers and the Prime Minister in the period from September 2004 to April 2005 have been revealed via a Freedom of Information request from the paper. You can read them all here.

Among more serious notes about the underfunding of the military and easing bureaucratic burdens on farmers, Charles reveals a love for the Patagonian Toothfish (well, for albatross) – and a ruthlessness when it comes to badgers.

He wrote to the then Environment Minister Elliot Morley:

I particularly hope the illegal fishing of the Patagonian Toothfish will be high on your list of priorities because, until that trade is stopped, there is little hope for the poor old albatross, for which I shall continue to campaign.

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But no such love for the badgers in this note to Tony Blair:

I cannot understand how the ‘badger lobby’ seem to mind not at all about the slaughter of thousands of expensive cattle and yet object to a managed cull of an over-population of badgers. To me, this is intellectually dishonest.