Hollywood filmmakers and movie stars have joined forces with Humane Society International to produce a powerful stop-motion animated short film, Save Ralph, calling for an end to cosmetic testing on animals around the world.
Although banned in 40 countries, the practice is still legal in most of the world, and even making a comeback in some regions, “subjecting untold thousands of animals to needless suffering and death,” Humane Society International (HIS) said.
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 Save Ralph film.
The film, which premiered overnight, 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 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, Denis Villeneuve and others voicing the characters in those languages, and Maggie Q providing a video message of support.
Humane Society International’s president, Jeffrey Flocken, said: “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 in an original and unexpected way—using the story of one bunny to shine a light on the plight of countless rabbits and other animals suffering at this very moment in laboratories around the world.
It aims to engage viewers to help ban animal testing of cosmetics once and for all.
“Animals in cosmetic testing labs don’t have a choice and it’s our responsibility to do something about it,” Save Ralph director Spencer Susser said.
“When the opportunity came up to create a new campaign for Humane Society International, I felt that stop motion was the perfect way to deliver the message.
“When you see the horrifying reality of the way animals are treated, you can’t help but look away.
“What I was hoping to do with this film was create something that delivers a message without being too heavy handed. I hope that audiences fall in love with Ralph and want to fight for him and other animals like him, so we can ban animal testing once and for all.”
Puppet master and set designer Andy Gent said: “I think the beauty of animation is that you can tell very complex stories and bring them to life in a non-threatening and educational way.
“In our miniature world of models and puppets using stop motion filmmaking we hope to bring attention to this mission to stop animal testing for cosmetics.
“We’re all very passionate about what we do, and it’d be very nice to think that this project to Save Ralph will have a greater, wider effect.”
Taika Waititi tweeted ahead of the launch: “This is a cool thing that is coming soon. If you don’t watch it and love it then you hate animals and we can’t be friends anymore. #SaveRalph.”
— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) March 27, 2021
Ricky Gervais said: “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.”
Tricia Helfer said: “I have been an animal lover for many years so I am honoured to lend my voice to this important, moving HSI campaign to end the cruelty of animal testing for cosmetics.
“Although we have made progress in some countries, globally there are still thousands of innocent animals just like Ralph who are made to suffer every day. Now is the time to change that.”
Troy Seidle, HSI’s vice president for research and toxicology, said: “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.”
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 US.
HSI is also standing up for bans that are already in place, like in Europe where the animal welfare organisation says authorities are attempting to exploit a legal loophole by demanding new animal testing of cosmetic ingredients under chemical law.
Save Ralph aims to shine a spotlight on all these countries, driving them toward the cruelty-free future that the public and consumers expect.
Featured image source: HSI
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