The Importance of Shopping Cruelty-Free


Madison Yee, Staff Writer

According to Humane Society International (HSI), an estimated 115 million animals worldwide are held “captive” for laboratory tests each year. However, in most cases, these animal tests don’t correctly predict human reactions and instead, it is believed that nine out of ten candidate medicines that seem safe from animal studies end up failing once humans receive them.

In essence, animal testing is when animals such as guinea pigs, cats, dogs, rabbits, and rats undergo procedures and experiments for biomedical research. For example, this act is commonly used by many beauty companies to ensure products are safe for human use along with universities that might use it for science, medicine, agriculture, and educational purposes. While some may say that this practice is ethical at first glance, many of these centers contribute to harmful and unsafe testing on animals who don’t even have a choice in being used as subjects.

Even though animals can have benefits to humans when it comes to ensuring a product or drug’s safe use, there is not a 100% accuracy in these situations. Yes, there are some who do animal experiments for essential and ethical reasons with the animal’s well-being in mind, except on the other hand there is still a large majority— mostly within the cosmetic industry who don’t abide by policies and don’t put in an effort to create products that don’t involve animal testing.

As stated by Cruelty Free International, these animals are usually killed in the process and held in tight cages. These experiments can include “injecting or force-feeding animals with potentially harmful substances,” “exposing animals to radiation,” “surgically removing animals’ organs or tissues to deliberately cause damage,” “forcing animals to inhale toxic gases,” and “subjecting animals to frightening situations to create anxiety and depression.”

In relevance to this, a trending topic that has been recently floating around social media is the ‘Save Ralph’ campaign. It sheds light on the sad reality and dark side of animal testing that most aren’t aware of. Serving as a mockumentary, the ‘Save Ralph’ short that amassed millions of views is vaguely four minutes long about a rabbit named Ralph, who works in a laboratory to test cosmetics on animals.

In the narrative, Ralph is interviewed about his career, which is also the reason that he is blind in one eye, deaf in one ear, and has back burns due to chemicals— causing constant pain. As this continues, a syringe is plunged into Ralph’s good eye, whereafter he appears fully blind with a collar and a spine injury that is visible.

Amid this, Ralph mentions the corrupt motives to animal testing when he says, “At the end of the day, I mean it’s okay. We do it for the humans. They’re far superior to us animals…”

Although other organizations and awareness groups have spread information about shopping cruelty-free in the past, this campaign led by HSI has reached more areas than ever seen before globally.

“Animals for cosmetic testing in laboratories have no other choice and it is our responsibility to do something about it. When the opportunity arose to create a new campaign for Humane Society International, I felt that stop motion was the perfect way to get the message across. What I was hoping to do with this film was create something that conveys a message without being too heavy. I hope that the public falls in love with Ralph and wants to fight for him and other animals like him so that we can ban the tests once and for all,” said director Spencer Susser in a press release from HSI.

Speaking of which, this leads to the question of how you can help take a stand in stopping the harsh aspects to animal testing around the world. To start, always strive to do your research so that you can shop cruelty-free. Seek out products that have labels ensuring that they are cruelty-free, and are certified with cruelty-free logos such as the Leaping Bunny logo. It is also important to know companies that do tests on animals and the companies that don’t test on animals.

Another great way to spread awareness is by supporting cruelty-free groups, sharing on social media, and using word of mouth to let others know about the cause and significance of stopping animal testing and shopping cruelty-free.

On an ending note, and as revealed in the ‘Save Ralph’ short film, no animal should be forced into suffering and death to pay the price for humans.

Photo courtesy of COLLIDER.COM