In this episode Patrick speaks to author and former Conservative member of the European Parliament, Stanley Johnson. Since 1951 his family has farmed on Exmoor, on the Devon-Somerset border, and Stanley still manages the farm there today.
During the conversation, Stanley and Patrick discuss agricultural trade with the European Union, the opportunity for food and farming to form a central part of COP21, animal welfare standards in relation to the Agriculture Bill and the current ‘war on obesity’.
In relation to the government’s failure to commit to the phasing out of intensive animal systems in the Agriculture Bill, Stanley said: “I cannot believe that the EU will allow us a free trade agreement if we are seen to be profiting from our legally independent status to have less than optimal animal welfare standards”.
Stanley is a former Conservative member of the European Parliament (MEP) where he served (1979-1984) as Vice Chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection. He has also worked in the European Commission (1973-1979) as Head of the Prevention of Pollution division and (1984-1994) as Senior Adviser to DG Environment and as Director of Energy Policy. Before joining the Commission, Stanley served on the staff of the World Bank and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
In 1984 he was awarded the Greenpeace Prize for Outstanding Services to the Environment and in the same year the RSPCA Richard Martin award for services to animal welfare. In 1962 he won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry and in 2015 was awarded the RSPB medal and the WWF Leader of the Living Planet Award. Stanley is also an Ambassador for Compassion in World Farming (CIWF).
Stanley has had ten books published dealing with environmental issues, including the Politics of the Environment, the Earth Summit and the Environmental Policy of the European Communities. He has also had ten novels published, including The Virus, which has recently been republished in the US and the UK. His novel The Warming is also being republished this autumn.