Taika Waititi Stars as Bunny in “Save Ralph,” a Film to End Animal Testing
Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, and more star in Humane Society International’s animated short film Save Ralph in aid of a global campaign to ban cosmetic testing on animals.
Hollywood filmmakers and movie stars have joined forces with Humane Society International to produce a powerful stop-motion animated short film, Save Ralph, to end cosmetic testing on animals around the world. Although banned in 40 countries, the practice is still perfectly legal in most of the world, including Laos, and 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 Save Ralph film, which aims to shine a light on the suffering animals endure and engage consumers and policymakers 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, Denis Villeneuve, and others voicing the characters in those languages, and Maggie Q providing a video message of support.
Find the short film and educational materials on the current status of animal testing and how you can help at hsi.org/Ralph
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 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 engages viewers to help ban animal testing of cosmetics once and for all.
Director, Spencer Susser says: “Animals in cosmetic testing labs don’t have a choice and it’s our responsibility to do something about it. 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.”
Claudia Dang Thi Phuong Thao, Humane Society International’s ASEAN campaign manager, says: “Not only is animal testing for cosmetics still legal in four out of five countries globally, including many in Southeast Asia, but these tests are increasingly being rebranded as chemical assessment. An Ipsos poll commissioned by Humane Society International in 2019 found overwhelming public support for an ASEAN-wide ban on animal testing for cosmetics, with 87% support on average across all ASEAN nations. #SaveRalph is a global public advocacy and awareness-raising campaign that aims to show the terrible sufferings that animals endure in testing. It is also a reminder to lawmakers that we need robust animal testing bans in place because no animal should suffer and die in the name of beauty.”
Actor Maggie Q, says: “I believe in people. I feel if they knew about the enormous suffering caused to animals in the name of beauty- they would demand differently. Animal testing for cosmetics is still legal in many places around the world, including Southeast Asia. I encourage consumers in this region to think twice about where they put their dollars. For me, I know I don’t need cruel products to be beautiful. And neither do you! Let’s make a statement together!!”
Troy Seidle, HSI’s vice president for research and toxicology, says: “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 priority countries including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, and 10 Southeast Asian nations, and partner organizations, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund, are 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. Save Ralph will shine a spotlight on all these countries, driving them toward the cruelty-free future that the public and consumers expect.
- Recent polling shows that 98% of people in Laos support a ban on cosmetic animal testing.
- 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 officially already 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 recognizes org, as a useful resource.
- 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 prioritizes getting test bans in place and robustly defended.
- In addition to pursuing legislative bans, HSI and our partners are collaborating to develop a training program 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.