Sandra Higgins

Sandra Higgins

Founder of Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary and Go Vegan World campaign

Sandra Higgins, BSc (Hons) Psych, MSc Couns Psych, MBPsS, founded Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary in 2008. It was the first vegan sanctuary in Ireland. Eden is now home to more than 100 residents, all of whom have been rescued from human use.

In 2012 she founded Matilda’s Promise, an Animal Rights and Vegan Education Centre dedicated to the memory of one of Eden’s first residents. The centre provides individual, group and online lectures and workshops aimed at simplifying and clarifying veganism and helping people learn the practicalities of living as vegans.
In 2015 she founded Go Vegan Ireland, a public educational advertising campaign which quickly developed into the international campaign Go Vegan World.

Sandra’s interest in animal rights stems from her previous career as a psychologist specialising in trauma. She studied Pure Psychology at The Open University, and at Trinity College, Dublin where she obtained an MSc in Counselling Psychology with Distinction. She also trained at The Positive Psychology Centre, University of Pennsylvania, The Human Animal Connection Unit at The University of Denver, Colorado, and The Institute for Humane Education, Maine, United States. Sandra is a Certified MB-EAT Instructor (Mindfulness Based Eating Awareness Instructor) and Intuitive Eating Instructor and has trained in working with Trauma & Dissociation with the UK ESTD (European Society for Trauma & Dissociation). She is also a Schema Therapy practitioner. She works in private practice at The Compassion Foundation of Ireland where she incorporates the non-violent philosophy of veganism in her clinical work. She also works with trauma and other mental health issues faced by animal rights activists. She is also the author of The Power of Compassion (2nd ed) in Halpin, M (2014) How to be Happy & Healthy, The Seven Natural Elements of Mental Health, Ashfield Press: Dublin.

Go Vegan World

Go Vegan Ireland

Matilda’s Promise Vegan Education Centre

Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary

Saturday
12:00pm

Panel Discussion - The Welfare Myth

With Britain about to Brexit, the government is racking up its welfare claims with the myth that somehow animals are treated better in this country. Our panellists will look in more detail at the humane myth and how that impacts on the future of British farming.
 
Hosted by Tim Barford

Workshops & Panels (SAT) full timetable

Saturday
2:00pm

Panel Discussion - Veganism in the Media (BSL interpretation available)

Veganism is on the rise and with it comes more mainstream media coverage. On the one hand, this is a good thing, but on the other hand, prevalence of vegan scare stories is also on the rise. Our panellists will look in more detail at today’s mainstream media coverage and veganism. 
 
Hosted by Tim Barford

Workshops & Panels (SAT) full timetable

Saturday
4:00pm - 5:00pm

The Humane Myth

Confronting the injustice of human use of other animals is a painful process that involves facing up to a very dark and disturbing side of ourselves. But it is a necessary process of we are to accord them the respect we owe them.

In an effort to dilute, distract and deflect from veganism as the only rational solution, the animal exploiting industries, and even some who claim to advocate for other animals, instead promote ‘humane use’.

The notion that we can humanely use the bodies and lives of other beings to meet our needs and desires is a myth. Using case studies from the lived experience of the residents of Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary as well as facts from the scientific literature, Sandra Higgins will present the argument that we can never call our use of other animals humane and to do so is merely a distraction from our duty to stop using them.

Vegan Activists Corner full timetable

Sunday
12:00pm - 12:30pm

The Animals We Advocate For

For three years Go Vegan World has run an international high profile, public advertising campaign encouraging the public to connect with the animals we use and go vegan. It is unique among vegan education campaigns because it is inspired and informed by the residents of Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary. These animals who have been rescued from the dangerous, hidden world of animal agriculture, feature in most of Go Vegan World’s ads. Who are they? Where have they come from? What do they want from us? What can they teach us? In this lecture Sandra will give a very intimate picture of the very real personalities at Eden who have made history by going out onto the streets to demand the rights of animals everywhere.

Vegan Activists Corner full timetable

Sunday
1:00pm

Minding Our Mental Health

Working as a vegan educator and animal rights activist can be psychologically challenging. Sandra has over two decades of clinical experience in the field of psychological trauma and burnout. In this lecture she will explain the risk factors of our work and show us how to recognise the signs and symptoms of trauma and burnout. She will discuss our need to be mindful of our methods and motives, and provide some tips for advocacy resilience to enable us to continue working for animal rights without harming ourselves.

The Vegan Academy full timetable