93pc of Malaysians support ban on cosmetic testing on animals, says Humane Society International (VIDEO)

The animal welfare charity teamed up with Hollywood to produce a short film ‘Save Ralph’ to end animal testing once and for all.  —  Picture courtesy of Humane Society International
The animal welfare charity teamed up with Hollywood to produce a short film ‘Save Ralph’ to end animal testing once and for all. — Picture courtesy of Humane Society International

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — A recent poll by Humane Society International (HSI) found 93 per cent of Malaysians support a ban on cosmetics testing on animals.

Despite being banned in 40 countries, animals are still legally used to test beauty products including Malaysia and, in some regions, the cruel practice is making a comeback.

What does animal testing look like?

Rabbits are locked in neck restraints to have cosmetic products and ingredients dripped in their eye and onto their shaved skin on their back while chemicals are spread on mice and guinea pigs’ shaved skin and ears.

No pain relief is given and all of them will be killed at the end.

In a bid to end cosmetic testing on animal testing, Hollywood filmmakers and actors have joined forces with the animal welfare charity to create a powerful stop-motion animated short film titled Save Ralph.

The likes of Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Rodrigo Santoro, Maggie Q, Tricia Helfer and others have lent their voices for the film which brings to light the suffering animals endure.

HSI hopes the film will engage consumers and policymakers to ban cosmetic testing on animals.

“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,” Humane Society International president Jeffrey Flocken said.

“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.”

Voiced by Kiwi filmmaker Waititi, the campaign’s spokesbunny Ralph is seen being interviewed in the short film as he goes about his daily routine as a “tester” in a toxicology lab.

The disturbing issue of animal testing is tackled in HSI’s #SaveRalph campaign in an original and unexpected way through the use of one bunny to represent the plight of countless, nameless rabbits and other furry friends who are suffering in labouratories worldwide.

The stop-motion animated film spotlights the plight of rabbits used for cosmetic testing through the eyes of one bunny.  —  Picture courtesy of Humane Society International
The stop-motion animated film spotlights the plight of rabbits used for cosmetic testing through the eyes of one bunny. — Picture courtesy of Humane Society International

To bring Ralph the bunny to life, writer and director Spencer Susser (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.

Susser said stop-motion was the perfect way to deliver the message of banning animal testing once and for all.

“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,” said Susser.

An Ipsos poll commissioned by HSI in 2019 found overwhelming public support for an Asean-wide ban on animal testing for cosmetics where 93 per cent of Malaysians supported the move and an average of 87 per cent across all Asean nations supported the ban.

“With these incredible results, Malaysia needs to move forward towards a cruelty free cosmetics market. #SaveRalph is a global advocacy and public awareness campaign that aims to show the terrible suffering that animals endure in testing,” HSI Asean campaign manager Claudia Dang Thi Phuong Thao said.

“It is also a reminder for lawmakers that we need robust animal testing bans in place because no animal should suffer and die in the name of beauty.”

With a focus on 16 priority countries including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, and 10 Southeast Asian nations, Save Ralph will be released in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Vietnamese to drive them toward the cruelty-free future that consumers are demanding with the help of partner organisations.

Animal testing for cosmetics is officially banned in 40 countries including India, Taiwan, New Zealand, South Korea, Australia and Norway.

While no single global shopping guide is available for consumers to check if their products were not tested on animals, HSI said LeapingBunny.org is a good place to start.

In addition to pursuing legislative bans, a training programme is being developed by HSI and its partners for an animal-free safety assessment to support smaller companies and government authorities transition to state-of-the-art non-animal methods.

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