The International Humane Society (IHS)has taken a unique approach to shedding light on the awful practice of animal testing in the cosmetic industry with a star-studded stop-motion animation PSA, voiced by Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Taika Waititi, Pom Klementieff, Rodrigo Santoro and Tricia Helfer.
The campaign is focused on 16 countries, including the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, and 10 Southeast Asian nations, some with different voice actors depending on the language.
The 4-minute mini movie, Save Ralph, is set up in a mockumentary style as it follows the rabbit throughout his day working as a cosmetic test subject animal. From the opening, Ralph has visible injuries, including a black eye. He recalls that all of his family members were cosmetic testers who “all died doing their job, just like I will.” As a human hand crashes through Ralph’s ceiling and grabs him from his home, Ralph reacts with an accepting, “Well, gotta get to work.”
Ralph is voiced by Waititi; Gervais is the interviewer; Efron is Bobby; Olivia Munn, Marshmallow; Klementieff, Cinnamon; and Helfer, Cottonballs.
The short was directed by Spencer Susser (top editor on The Greatest Showman) and produced by Jeff Vespa (Voices of Parkland). The puppets were created by Andy Gent of Arch Model studio (Isle of Dogs, The Grand Budapest Hotel).
“It's so important that Ralph feels real because he represents countless real animals who suffer every day,” said Susser in a statement posted on YouTube beneath the PSA.
IHS’s recently launched an online petition, calling for an end to animal cosmetic testing. The site is also filled with statistics and other educational materials. More than 2,000 “cruelty-free” beauty brands are available worldwide, including Lush, Garnier, Dove, Herbal Essences and H&M.
IHS recognizes LeapingBunny.org, BeautyWithoutBunnies, Logical Harmony, ChooseCrueltyFree and Te Protejo as resources.
“Animal testing just makes me angry,” said Gervais in a press statement. “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.”
In Canada, it is still legal for companies to test cosmetic products on animals. A 2019 bill called the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act passed through the Canadian Senate but died on the House of Commons floor after a second reading. The act would have made it illegal to test cosmetic products on animals, as well as banned the international sale of such products. Cosmetic testing on animals has already been banned by the EU, Australia, Colombia, Guatemala, Israel, India, Taiwan, and New Zealand.
“I know it looks bad, but trust me, I’m just doing my job,” Ralph says as he’s strapped onto a metal laboratory desk by a pair of blue latex gloves. When Ralph explains to the other test bunnies on the desk that there is a film crew making a documentary about him, his coworkers wonder out loud, “Can they get us out of here?”. “I don’t want to die,” one bunny cries.
After being forced to test eyedrops, Ralph ends his day at work in the locker room visibly injured and disoriented.
“Well without you and countries that allow animal testing I’d be out of a job; I’d be on the streets. Well not the streets, more a field like a field I guess, like a normal rabbit but hey, it’s all good,” Ralph says while holding a weak thumbs-up.
In a press statement, HIS president Jeffrey Flocken 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.”
WATCH SAVE RALPH BELOW: