Humane Society International spokes-bunny Ralph urges Europeans to join non-animal testing movement

Humane Society International / Europe

HSI Ralph, spokes-bunny for HSI’s global campaign to ban cosmetic testing on animals

In the face of mounting testing demands by European chemical authorities that could come at a devastating cost to animals in laboratories, viral sensation Ralph, spokes-bunny for Humane Society International, has arrived in Europe to rally citizens around a vision of #SafetyWithoutSuffering. Ralph gives voice to HSI’s position that chemical safety and animal welfare are not mutually exclusive, rather the two advance together by embracing modern non-animal tools that are better at modelling human physiology than 60- to 80-year-old tests on rabbits and rodents.

Save Ralphis an award-winning mockumentary that follows the daily routine of a “tester” named Ralph, using the story of one bunny to shine a light on the plight of all animals in toxicology laboratories. While Ralph is animated, the suffering that animals like him are enduring right now across Europe as a result of government-required chemical testing is all too real. In fact, the European Chemicals Agency is even requesting new animal tests for substances used only in cosmetics, in blatant disregard for the European Union’s longstanding ban on animal testing for cosmetics. Watch the video.

Troy Seidle, Humane Society International’s vice president for research and toxicology, says: “Ralph’s story is a sobering reminder that the fight to end animal testing is still far from over, and even in the EU, celebrated victories like the cosmetics animal testing ban are at risk of being undone by chemical regulators’ addiction to animal testing data. It’s also disheartening to see the European Green Deal used to greenwash proposals to expand animal testing requirements when it’s clear that state-of-the-art non-animal approaches are more likely to deliver real progress for people, animals and our planet.”

Ralph’s arrival comes on the heels of a nearly unanimous resolution by the European Parliament calling for an ambitious and comprehensive European Commission action plan to fully transition the EU away from animal use in testing, research and education. Such a plan is urgently needed to elevate the goal of replacing animal use and ensure it is applied consistently across a wide range of EU legal and funding instruments, including regulations governing chemicals, cosmetics and hazard labelling. Earlier this week, ECHA Director Bjorn Hansen stated before the Parliament that, “It’s a total win-win-win-win situation for all parties involved if we would be able to move away from animal tests. It would mean that we would be able to get results about the undesirable effects of chemicals much faster.”

Humane Society International invites EU citizens who are moved by Ralph’s story, and who wish to see the Green Deal implemented in a way that doesn’t harm millions of animals, to join its #SafetyWithoutSuffering campaign.

Fast facts:

  • The EU’s chemicals law “REACH” imposes a rigid checklist of testing requirements, many of which involve force-feeding or otherwise exposing rodents, fish or other animals to unrealistic doses of a chemical for periods of one week to two years, without any pain relief. Some of the required experiments consume between 1,300 and 2,600 animals per chemical tested.
  • A recent analysis found that 63 REACH-registered chemicals used only in cosmetics were subject to 104 new animal tests after the EU Cosmetic Regulation bans came into force. HSI estimates that these tests may have subjected upwards of 25,000 rabbits, mice, rats and other animals to a combination of eye and skin irritation, skin allergy, acute lethal poisoning, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and other tests. If the EU’s approach does not evolve, the number of animals who could be subject to new testing for the additional 3,206 REACH-registered chemicals with cosmetics and other uses could soar into the hundreds of thousands.
  • HSI’s “Save Ralph” film features an all-star international cast including Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff, Tricia Helfer and others. Within weeks of its April 2021 launch, “Save Ralph” went viral worldwide, with more than 150 million social media views, over 740 million tags on TikTok, and nearly five million signatures on HSI petitions.

“Save Ralph” has been selected in more than one dozen film festivals in Europe and across the world, including four Oscar-qualifiers, and has received multiple accolades. “Save Ralph” was recently awarded best animated film at the Roma Creative Contest.


Media Contact: Yavor Gechev:

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