By Cody Juric
Campus News Reporter

Banana Slugs for Animals, a new club on campus, begins this week with discussions about ethics, healthy living, animal protection, and the environment.

Eric Deardorff, president of the club, came to UC Santa Cruz from Virginia this year, and saw a need for the club.

“I saw no animal-oriented clubs when I came to this university,” Deardorff said. “I got into animal rights through my upbringing of hunting. There are so many areas in the world where animals are treated poorly, I just want to use my voice for their purpose.”

The club currently consists of four founders that have a drive and vision to create a place for debate and discussion centering on animal cruelty and protection issues. Its members aim to screen a film related to health, dietary or environmental hazards in the near future. There are also plans to give away free food once or twice a quarter in an effort to educate people on healthy alternatives to meat.

The club was out tabling and passing out leaflets last week in the Quarry Plaza from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Now that it has finalized the paperwork, the first meeting will take place on Oct. 23 from 4:45 to 6 p.m. in the Redwood Lounge.

While the club tabled on Wednesday, it also supported the passing of Proposition 2 on the California state ballot. Proposition 2 is a statewide initiative to limit practices that are cruel to farm animals and impede human health and safety. The proposition would mandate that certain animals have enough space in their cages to turn around and stretch their limbs.

Lisa Chapman, co-founder of the club, strongly advocates the proposition because it gives power to the progression of awareness and change.

“It is a small step,” Chapman said, “but useful toward more animal freedom.”

The club leaders’ passion comes from the fact that there has not been an animal awareness club available to UCSC students for a long time.

“We are basically playing catch-up to what should, on campus, have already been going on,” Deardorff said. “The biggest difficulty is that people just don’t know about what is going on. They don’t know that pigs get castrated with no painkillers, they don’t know that they get their tails cut off without any painkillers.”

Pierre Bienaimé, a member of the agrarian food co-op at Kresge, was surprised that an animal rights club did not already exist.

“It was strange to hear that there was so much bureaucracy involved to get the club started,” Bienaimé said. “As long as the club is active and driving progress, I’m all for it.”