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Apr 6, 2021

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Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Tricia Helfer and more star in Humane Society International’s animated short film Save Ralph in aid of global campaign to ban cosmetic testing on animals

Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Tricia Helfer and more star in Humane Society International’s animated short film Save Ralph in aid of global campaign to ban cosmetic testing on animals

Toronto/Montreal, April 6, 2021 --- Hollywood filmmakers and internationally renowned 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 Canada, and even making a comeback in some regions, subjecting untold thousands of animals to needless suffering and death. Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac EfronOlivia Munn, Quebec-born Pom Klementieff, Canadian Tricia Helfer, and others have come together to help HSI by providing the voices for the English version of the Save Ralph film, which aims to shine a light on the suffering animals endure and engage consumers and policy makers in HSI’s mission to ban animal testing.

HSI/Canada has campaigned for several years to compel the Canadian government to prohibit cosmetics (animal) testing and trade. Polls show that 87% of Canadians support such a ban introduced, and to support the legislative effort in Canada, the Save Ralph film is also being launched in French on April 12 with Denis Villeneuve, Pom Klementieff and others lending their voices. Globally, the film will also be released in Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese with Rodrigo Santoro and others voicing the characters in those languages, and Maggie Q providing a video message of support. 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. To view the short film and educational materials on the current status of animal testing and how you can help, please visit 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.”

Actress, Tricia Helfer says: “As a proud Canadian, I have been an animal lover and protector for many years and I am so honoured to be able to lend my voice in a very real way to this important, moving campaign. I felt it was vital to help create awareness that there is currently no policy in Canada to protect animals from cosmetic testing. Together with HSI/Canada we are urging the Canadian government to make the necessary changes to ensure a policy be implemented to protect the animals from unnecessary harm and suffering.”

Director, Denis Villeneuve says: '“When I was asked to participate in Save Ralph, I didn't hesitate. The torture that these animals go through is very real, and we need the public and government to truly understand that on a human level in order to make lasting change.”

Aviva Vetter, HSI’s global campaign manager, says: “Most people are often surprised to learn that animal testing for cosmetics is still legal in Canada, but with the help of our #SaveRalph campaign we aim to consign it to the history books once and for all. Many people 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 are urging Canada to join the 40 countries that have already banned this outdated practice and made the move to be cruelty free.”

In addition to HSI/Canada’s campaign, HSI is focused on 16 priority countries including Brazil, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, and 10 Southeast Asian nations, and our 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. #SaveRalph will shine a spotlight on all these countries, driving them toward the cruelty-free future that the public and consumers expect.

Fast facts:

  • Polling shows that 87% of Canadians support a ban on animal testing for cosmetics (Insights West, 2019).
  • 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.
  • The European Union banned all animal testing for cosmetics in 2013, yet today this celebrated precedent is being undermined by European Chemicals Agency demands that companies perform new animal tests on chemicals used exclusively in cosmetics. Read more here.
  • 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 LeapingBunnies.orgBeautyWithoutBunniesand Logical Harmony 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 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.

Media downloads:

Download still images from Save Ralph here.

Click here for the Save Ralph movie on YouTube

About Humane Society International/Canada

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its affiliates, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide and on the web at hsicanada.ca. Find more at hsi.org/Ralph


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