Monday, January 28, 2008

Annette Pinner - Chief Executive, Vegetarian Society

How old are you?

What’s your occupation and who do you work for?
I’m Chief Executive of The Vegetarian Society

How long have been doing this?
18 months

What is it about your job that makes it ethical?
We help people become and remain vegetarian which reduces animal suffering and killing and has positive benefits for the environment and global sustainability .

What’s the best bit about your job?
The people I work with each day (inside and outside the Society).

What’s the worst thing?
Paperwork and bureaucracy

What have the last 12 months been like for you?
Fantastic! Our ‘Silent but Deadly’ environmental campaign has been a great success. Mars Bars became vegetarian again and we have built stronger working relationships with partners.

What were you doing before this?
I worked for the Environment Agency as Area Manager for Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.

What was your very first full-time job?
Post-doctoral research at Oxford University in soil chemistry.

What advice would you give to someone wishing to embark on the same sort of work as you? Follow your heart, look for opportunities, take some risks.

Have you got any plans for the next 12 months you’d like to share with us?
We’ll be running a campaign on animal welfare as well as continuing our environmental campaigning. We’ll also be expanding our training for professional chefs - we want people to be able to eat better vegetarian food in workplace canteens, hospitals and schools as well as in restaurants.

What do you do to relax?
Spend time with friends and family, meditate, go to the gym, read.

Who do you live with?
My husband and sometimes my daughter (when she’s home from university)

Whereabouts do you live?

If you were Prime Minister, what’s the very first thing you would do?
Tax meat production!

As cheap and easily available oil is expect to run out in the next couple of decades, what do you think will be the predominant form of transport in 2027?
Trains and trams (regular and frequent ones I hope!)

Have you got any guilty carbon secrets?
I hate being cold so I probably use more energy heating the house than I should.

What have you done that you were most proud of?
That there are fewer nauseating smells in Wigan! I probably shouldn’t go into too much detail but I guess I can say that I lead a team at the Environment Agency that worked really hard to get a particular operation to stop sending out some pretty foul smelling stuff. On a personal note, leaving the Environment Agency to come to VegSoc. Lots of people told me I was crazy to give up such a well paid and secure job, not to mention the final salary pension, but I know working here would be more in line with my own values and beliefs.

What single issue are you most concerned about in the world at large?
Excessive consumption based on, what seems to me, the mistaken idea it will make us happier.

Which person in the public eye do you most admire and why?
The Dalai Lama – because he exudes both kindness and wisdom and is so true to his values and beliefs sometimes under great pressure.

What’s your website address?

What are your three favourite other websites of the moment? – I’ve been on several retreats with Stephen and Martin Batchelor and love their practical and open approach. There are talks, very informed discussions and beautiful photos on the site. - the site for Satish Kumar’s Resurgence magazine. Inspiring articles and videos. - lots of interesting photos and writing. OK, it’s a site our son runs along with 2 colleagues but what the heck, I love it!

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