The Plot Behind The Humane Society’s New Animated Short That’s Leaving A Lasting Impression Regarding Cosmetic Testing On Animals
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The Humane Society International has recently released an animated short film focusing on animal testing—and it truly leaves a lasting impression.
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The film begins with a rabbit sitting on the sofa in his apartment. His name is Ralph. He’s dressed in a suit and tie, and he discusses his physical disabilities. He lets the audience know that he’s blind in one eye, has hearing loss in one ear and has a chemical burn on his back which hurts nonstop.
Throughout his interview, he’s seen doing everyday tasks that average humans do—he brushes his teeth, he eats cereal out of a bowl, and he mentions family, who unfortunately, have all died doing what he’s doing—animal testing.
In the midst of eating his breakfast, Ralph is then seen being taken from his apartment by a large human hand and is placed in a laboratory. He is restrained while human researchers apply some sort of liquid chemical into his good eye. His friends, and fellow ‘lab prisoners’ who are restrained along side him all yell and plead with the camera crew to help them.
At the end of the film you see a battered Ralph in a locker room, who unfortunately is blind in both eyes now, and the audience can even catch a glimpse of the chemical burn that’s on his back. For him, it’s just an ordinary day. He feels as though he’s merely doing his job to please humans. He knows that he can be like ‘normal’ rabbits enjoying freedom out in a field somewhere, but shrugs the idea off—he accepts his fate. Tomorrow he will wake up and do it all over again.
What makes this stop-motion animated feature so effective? I mean, society has been introduced to graphic images of animal cruelty in the past—and yet none of those former animal rights campaigns have left a lasting impression as powerful as “Save Ralph”. And I think I know why that is.
The first reason as to why this film is so popular and successful is because the animated short is a mockumentary; meaning, it consists of fictional characters and events which are presented documentary style.
It presents the animal (Ralph) in human-like form. He has a house and wears clothing. He has a voice and a story to tell. He easily reminds you of a friend or family member—maybe even yourself. In an odd way, it’s simply relatable.
The second reason behind the success of this campaign is that the film doesn’t just show the physical pain that these animals go through—it showcases the mental health of these lab rabbits as well. Ralph is clinically depressed, but because this is the only life he’s ever known, he thinks it’s normal. And it’s heartbreaking to watch. He believes that sacrificing his body for humans is “worth it”, and it’s sad to hear him say that.
The purpose of “Save Ralph” is to raise awareness in regards to animal testing and the cruelty involved. Lab animals literally have no quality of life. In a press release, the creators of the film stated that the goal of the film is to:
“shed light on the suffering of animals and involve consumers and policy makers in HSI’s mission to ban cosmetic testing on animals.”
They’ve done a fantastic job.
The film stars Taika Waititi as Ralph and Ricky Gervais as the interviewer. Additional cast members include Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff, Tricia Helfer and Rodrigo Santoro.
Watch it Below!