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Home » Cruelty Free » “Save Ralph” Explained: Exposing The Truth About Animal Testing

“Save Ralph” Explained: Exposing The Truth About Animal Testing

Save Ralph

Most people are unaware of the correlation between the cosmetics industry and the horrific treatment of animals. Did you know that cosmetics are still being tested on animals?

Have you ever wondered how many animals were harmed for your moisturizer, shampoo and mascara?

With the new short stop motion movie “Save Ralph”, Humane Society International makes an endeavor to raise awareness about animal testing and the horrible treatment of animals in the cosmetics industry.

It goes without saying that this is not the first campaign against animal testing.

So why is this specific campaign so special and why should you care?

This 4-minute short film went viral! And for a good reason:

In just 4 minutes, “Save Ralph” tells a heartbreaking and eye-opening story in a mockumentary style that really makes you think about our choices as humans.

It was released on April 6, 2021 and has accumulated more than 50 million views across the world in just 10 days, helping raise awareness about the horrific practice of animal testing.

Yes, that’s right – more than 50 million views.

It stars Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff, Tricia Helfer, and Rodrigo Santoro and is directed by Spencer Susser.

The plot revolves around Ralph, a rabbit that works as a “tester” (test subject) in a laboratory that tests cosmetics on animals.

During an interview for a documentary, Ralph tells his life story while getting ready for work and reveals the health issues and pain caused by the tests that were performed on him.

It’s really disturbing, but that’s just the beginning.

If this is the first time you’re discovering this issue and you’re confused, keep on reading.

I’ll answer some of the most common questions about this short and I’ll tell you how we can save Ralph and “his colleagues”.

But first:

If you haven’t seen the stop-motion short “Save Ralph”, you can watch it here (it’s only 4 minutes long):

Let’s address a couple of things first:

Why is Ralph blind, deaf and has a painful shaved piece of skin on his back? What kinds of tests are performed on animals?

At the beginning of the video, Ralph is only blind in his right eye, but later we see that during a test, a human injects something in his left eye, causing him to become fully blind.

This is the Draize eye test, an acute toxicity test that examines the toxicity of a substance when applied into the rabbit’s eyes for several days. If the substance tested causes permanent damage to the rabbit’s eyes, they euthanize the rabbit as it’s of no use to the laboratory anymore.

Ralph is also deaf in one ear, because of the rabbit ear testthe most common “comedogenicity test” which is basically a test that checks whether a certain substance has a tendency to cause acne, clogged pores, pimples and blackheads.

The rabbit ear test involves applying a substance in the rabbit’s ear, and checking after some time to see if any clogged pores appear.

And last, but not least, Ralph has also been the subject of the skin corrosion test, which checks whether the substance in question can cause irreversible damage to the skin.

The skin corrosion test involves shaving the rabbit’s back, applying the substance to the skin and checking whether there are any wounds, bleeding, etc.

A Case of Speciesism: let’s talk about anthropocentrism a.k.a. human supremacy

It’s not a big deal, it only hurts when I… like, breathe or move around, or whatever…

But hey, at the end of the day… I mean, It’s okay – we do it for the humans, right? They’re far superior to us animals.

– Ralph

The belief that one group of sentient living beings is more superior and has more value than other groups has been around since the dawn of time.

Does that remind you of something?

Elitism can represent itself in lots of different forms, one of them being the human entitlement in the belief that we are superior to non-human animals (remember – humans are animals, too!).

That’s the basis of the discrimination against non-human animals, and the foundation behind the reassurance that it’s okay to use and abuse animals for our own (percieved) needs.

That’s the reason why animal testing is still happening and the reason why animals are still suffering before the eyes of millions of humans.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Quote from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, 1945

Of course, the “Animal Farm” oxymoron above comes from a totally different context (political) in the book, but it gets the point across pretty clearly:

There can be no equality, justice and compassion until we stop being guided by perceived superiority, power, elitism and discrimination.

The illusion of cosmetics safety: animal tests aren’t as accurate as you may think

Now, I know it looks bad, but the way I see it: I’m doing my job. If just one human can have the illusion of a safer lipstick, or deodorant…

– Ralph

Why does Ralph say that humans have the illusion of safer cosmetics?

Animal testing is not just cruel, but also the least reliable and most expensive of all the testing methods we have available today.

In the modern world, it is completely redundant and obsolete.

The truth of the matter is that tests performed on animals aren’t even accurate as there can be many differences between the effects of these ingredients in humans and animals.

Let’s take the Draize eye test as an example. There are several significant differences between the structure of the eyes and the volume of tears in humans and in rabbits.

Different species of animals (including humans) have wide variations in responses to chemicals, regardless of the way they’re administered.

Similar problems exist with other types of animal tests for cosmetics as well. This makes all of these tests unreliable, and therefore obsolete. 

There are numerous animal testing alternatives and thousands of companies that sell cruelty free products – products that haven’t been tested on animals.

If you want to learn more, check out the following post: How Are Cruelty Free Products Tested? These 4 Animal Testing Alternatives Save Animal Lives.

So, what are you going to do about this? Yes, YOU can actually help!

I’d just like to say to everyone out there still buying animal-tested cosmetics like eyeliner, shampoo, sunscreen… pretty much everything in your bathroom…

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 like a field, I guess… You know, like a normal rabbit. But hey, it’s all good.

– Ralph

Animal testing in the cosmetics industry is still happening because we allow it to happen. It’s because people are still okay with buying products tested on animals, and thus supporting this horrible practice.

Now, if you weren’t aware about this issue until now, that’s fine – it’s never too late to take a stand against animal testing.

So, this is what you can do if you’d like to take a stand against animal testing:

Go cruelty free

“You vote with your dollar”, they say. And they’re right.

Each dollar you spend on products tested on animals, is a vote in support of animal testing.

Going cruelty free means only buying products from brands that don’t test on animals, i.e. ones that are cruelty free.

The idea is simple:

if the demand for cosmetics that are not tested on animals keeps increasing, and fewer people are buying from brands that still test their products on animals, these companies are going to realize that they’re losing money.

And that will force them to follow their ethical competitors’ example.

Boycotting brands that test on animals really works!

There are multiple brands that have stopped testing on animals and gone cruelty free as a result of the pressure from the cruelty free community.

CoverGirl and Garnier are the most popular examples, and you can read more about their journeys on my blog.

Additionally, by buying from cruelty free brands, you’re supporting the cause and helping ethical brands become more popular.

Support the Humane Society International petition

More than 80% of the countries worldwide still allow animal testing.

If you agree that animals shouldn’t suffer and die to test cosmetics or their ingredients and would like to support the ban of animal testing, sign HSI’s petition which is active as part of the #SaveRalph campaign against animal testing.

Reach out to brands that test on animals

If you discover that some of the products you like are tested on animals, reach out to the brands that manufacture them and express your concerns.

Email them and let them know that you and other customers care about the respectful treatment of animals and can’t allow this to continue happening.

Tell them that you’d love to see them change their testing policy and go cruelty free.

Until then, they’ve lost you as a customer.

Educate yourself and others on this topic

If you’re a beginner in the cruelty free world, don’t worry – I have an entire post that should give you a great introduction to this topic – Animal Testing for Cosmetics 101.

Spread the message!

Share this knowledge with your friends and family.

By introducing more people to this concept, you’re increasing your impact in the fight against animal testing and helping reduce the demand for products tested on animals.


“No animal should suffer and die in the name of beauty”

A quote from “Save Ralph”

It’s not just Ralph – there are thousands of other rabbits experiencing this.

And it’s not just rabbits, but other animal species as well.

Let’s save Ralph and millions of other animals that get hurt and die during animal testing for the cosmetics industry!

There’s no time like the present – go cruelty free now and make a difference.

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