A few weeks ago, the short film titled “Save Ralph”, made by the Humane Society of the United States, was released. It has an all-star cast with celebrities such as Taika Waititi and Zac Efron. The mockumentary-style, stop-motion PSA follows a rabbit named Ralph as he explains his daily routine as a test rabbit. Throughout the film, Ralph is obviously injured from the tests being done on him, but instead of being concerned, he brushes it off claiming this is his “job” and that it’s “ok because we do it for the humans.”
The last frame of the film appears, and there we read “ No animal should die and suffer in the name of beauty.”
If it isn’t obvious by now, the narrative of “Save Ralph” is about the animal cruelty that happens in the cosmetics industry. Ralph represents the thousands of rabbits and small animals that are suffering due to the chemical tests being done on them for the products we humans use every day.
Product testing is a concept that has been around for decades. According to The Humane Society, 1938, "The United States Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act was signed into law, requiring some safety substantiation of cosmetic products.” This act led many companies to begin testing their products on animals.
While multiple animal protection groups have been formed and avidly protest animal testing, there are only four states that have banned animal testing for cosmetics; California (2002), New Jersey (2007), New York (2014), and Virginia (2018). Although this number is low, this is a good step in the right direction to banning animal testing across the US.
Many PSAs about animals being tested on have been produced, but for many, “Save Ralph” sent the message across in a way that was easier to digest. With its dry ironic humor and choice of stop motion, it allows people to pay attention through the whole video without their guilt getting in the way. “Save Ralph” accomplishes its goal of being a wake-up call to their audience, whereas the other PSA’s come across as a guilt trip.
While there is no simple solution to stopping animal testing, there are a few things we can do to help reduce the amount of testing done. You can buy cosmetics from cruelty-free and vegan makeup brands. Cruelty-Free Kitty has an amazing “Ultimate Guide to Cruelty- Free Makeup”, I highly recommend taking the time to read through it. Along with buying cruelty-free, you can also sign and share petitions that help end animal testing and donate to organizations fighting to end animal testing.