Hollywood filmmakers and movie stars have joined forces with Humane Society International to produce a powerful stop-motion animated short film, #SaveRalph, to end cosmetic testing on animals around the world, including South Africa. Although banned in 40 countries, the practice is still legal in most of the world, and is even making a comeback in some regions, subjecting untold thousands of animals to needless suffering and death.
Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff, Tricia Helfer and others have come together to help HSI change that by providing the voices for the #SaveRalph film, which aims to shine a light on the suffering animals endure and engage consumers and policy makers in HSI’s mission to ban it. Writer and director Spencer Susser (Hesher, The Greatest Showman) and producer Jeff Vespa (Voices of Parkland) teamed up with the Arch Model studio of puppet maker supreme Andy Gent on the production to bring Ralph to life. The film is also being launched in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Vietnamese with Rodrigo Santoro, Gad Elmelah, Denis Villeneuve, George Lopez and others voicing the characters in those languages, and Maggie Q providing a video message of support.
Jeffrey Flocken, Humane Society International’s president, says: “Save Ralph is a wake-up call that animals are still suffering for cosmetics, and now is the time for us to come together to ban it globally. Today we have an abundance of reliable, animal-free approaches for product safety assurance, so there’s no excuse for making animals like Ralph suffer to test cosmetics or their ingredients.”
The film features HSI’s campaign spokesbunny Ralph, voiced by Taika Waititi, being interviewed as he goes through his daily routine as a ‘tester’ in a toxicology lab. HSI’s #SaveRalph campaign tackles the disturbing issue of animal testing by using the story of one rabbit to shine a light on the plight of countless rabbits and other animals suffering at this very moment in laboratories around the world. It engages viewers to help ban animal testing of cosmetics once and for all.
Director Spencer Susser says: “One of my favorite things about stop-motion animation is that every frame is a choice. Sadly, animals don’t have that choice but the magic of stop-motion gives us the tools to give Ralph a voice. It’s so important that Ralph feels real because he represents countless real animals who suffer every day. We hope that audiences will be moved to get behind Humane Society International’s campaign to ban animal testing of cosmetics once and for all.”
Ricky Gervais says: “Animal testing just makes me angry. There’s no justification for dripping chemicals in rabbits’ eyes or force-feeding them to rats just to make lipsticks and shampoo. Science has evolved enough to give us non-animal solutions to end this terrible cruelty—it’s time for our humanity to catch up.”
The campaign is focused on 16 countries including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, and 10 Southeast Asian nations, with partner organisations, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund, focused on legislation in the U.S. HSI is also standing up for bans that are already in place, like in Europe where authorities are attempting to exploit a legal loophole by demanding new animal testing of cosmetic ingredients under chemical law. #SaveRalph will shine a spotlight on all these countries, driving them toward the cruelty-free future that the public and consumers expect.
Joseph Mayson, HSI-Africa’s campaign manager, says: “Sadly, there’s no happy ending for animals like Ralph, but by working together we can ensure that no animal is ever again made to suffer in the name of beauty. It’s easy to assume that companies are the problem, but the truth is they are a vital part of the solution. It’s laws that need to be changed, and industry leaders like Lush, Unilever, P&G, L’Oréal and Avon are working with us to secure meaningful animal testing bans in many of the world’s most influential beauty markets. We’ve recruited Ralph as our spokesbunny to help get these laws over the finish line.
Over 90% of South Africans support a ban on animal testing for cosmetics, so with industry and the public on our side, we believe it is only a matter of time before South Africa joins the 40 countries that have already banned this practice.”
- Recent polling shows that 90% of South Africans support a ban on cosmetic testing on animals.
- In some parts of the world, rabbits like Ralph are locked in neck restraints and have cosmetic products and ingredients dripped in their eye and on to the shaved skin on their back. Guinea pigs and mice have the chemicals spread on their shaved skin or on their ears. None of these animals are given pain relief, and all of them will be killed at the end.
- Animal testing for cosmetics is banned in 40 countries. HSI and partners were instrumental in securing bans in India, Taiwan, New Zealand, South Korea, Guatemala, Australia and 10 states in Brazil. Such testing is also banned in Turkey, Israel, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and in the U.S. states of California, Illinois, Nevada and Virginia.
- More than 2,000 cruelty-free beauty brands are available worldwide, including Lush, Garnier, Dove, Herbal Essences and H&M. These companies produce safe products by using ingredients with a history of safe use, together with modern animal-free safety assessment tools.
- No single global shopping guide yet exists, but HSI recognises LeapingBunny.org, BeautyWithoutBunnies, Logical Harmony, ChooseCrueltyFree, and Te Protejo as useful resources.
- HSI warns that even cruelty-free cosmetics are in jeopardy if chemical safety legislation continues to demand new animal tests for chemical ingredients used exclusively in cosmetics. That’s why the #SaveRalph campaign prioritises getting test bans in place and robustly defended.
- In addition to pursuing legislative bans, HSI and partners are collaborating to develop a training programme in animal-free safety assessment to support smaller companies and government authorities transition from animal testing to state-of-the-art non-animal methods, which are readily available and better at assuring human safety than the animal tests they replace.