Student Animal Alliance gets creative in heightening awareness
Published: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 7:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 7:09 p.m.
The Student Animal Alliance at the University of Florida is determined to raise awareness on issues of animal testing in research and the general mistreatment of animals.
To do so, they've been at Turlington Plaza in recent days offering free makeovers using vegan makeup and cosmetic products.
On Monday and Tuesday, they'll be giving away Tofurkey and vegan holiday recipe booklets.
Allison Dale, a 20-year-old UF sophomore geology major, is a member of the alliance and was among those giving free makeovers outside Turlington as part of Cruelty-Free Days, an event the organization holds to raise awareness about animal testing.
Students stopping by the alliance's display were given the choice of a variety of cosmetic products, hair and body products, and fabrics -- all of which were vegan-friendly and not tested on animals.
Dani Russell, 19, a UF sophomore and nutrition and dietetics major, went under the brush with a sample of Black Radiance Liquid Eyeliner.
"I'm not a big makeup wearer," Russell said. "I know what brands to look out for if I ever need to purchase makeup."
The display of cruelty-free products ranged from e.l.f. Liquid Lipsticks and Eyeshadow Palettes to White Rain shampoos and conditioners.
Nexus, e.l.f. Cosmetics and Urban Decay are just a few of the companies that don't test on animals, the alliance says. A complete list of vegan companies was shown next to the display of makeup and cosmetics. The starred companies on the list, which include Bazil Essentials and Be Natural Organics, are completely animal-friendly/vegan, according to the alliance.
The unstarred companies on the list make some products that contain animal products. Wet n Wild, a popular cosmetic brand known for its vibrant lip glosses, for instance, carries some products that contain carmine, a red coloring derived from the female cochineal beetle, the alliance says. Carmine can also be found in certain candies, food and beauty products.
Dale cautioned women to double-check the ingredients in beauty products before making a purchase. Dale said after she became a vegan, she started to switch out makeup brands for companies that do not test on animals.
"We have a lot of other ways to test makeup," Dale said. "Science is coming up with ways to create synthetic tissues for testing."
Matt Binder, 21, a UF senior double-majoring in English and philosophy, is president of the Student Animal Alliance said he has had his own experiences with veganism that influenced his involvement in the organization.
"I turned vegan because I saw a video called "Earthlings," which is about factory farming," Binder said.
Binder said his participation in "Hug a Vegetarian Day" four years ago sparked his involvement with the Student Animal Alliance, which has been participating in Cruelty-Free Days for the past three years.
"My favorite part is when people get makeovers," Binder said. "It gives them the chance to sit down with one of us doing makeup and they get to directly experience a variety of products."
Binder said he wasn't surprised that many students did not know the term vegan could be applied to makeup and cosmetics.
"Food is definitely the original and most common use and conception of the term vegan," Binder said. "But it can be applied to all aspects of life where potential animal suffering caused (by) actions and/or purchases is avoided."
The alliance also does local volunteer work with places like Rooterville, a rescued animal sanctuary mainly consisting of pot-bellied pigs, Gainesville Rabbit Rescue, and Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary.
"The goal is to encourage people not to support these industries. And in doing so to encourage the industries not to support animal testing," Binder said.