Founded in 1978 by Bette Overell, the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) is an incorporated society that is working for the abolition of vivisection because it is medical and scientific fraud.

What makes us unique is that we are the only organisation in New Zealand fighting solely for the total abolition of vivisection.

Over the past three decades, we have led and participated in many different anti-vivisection campaigns. We drove the campaign to prevent legal highs being tested on animals, we were a part of the Be Cruelty-Free campaign that successfully banned testing cosmetics on animals in New Zealand, we removed the requirement for the Draize test in New Zealand law and so much more!

Read more on our previous achievements here

Why we work to abolish vivisection:

The ethical objections to vivisection are apparent. Therefore we concentrate on scientific anti-vivisectionism. That is, due to the physical and other differences between species no species can be an accurate model for another.

We are passionate about relevant and reliable science as well as the future of human health. 

The best and most relevant science to help humans is, of course, human-based. We, therefore, advocate human-based research as the best method to helping find cures and treatments for humans as well as testing the safety of products and substances for humans.

Read more on the scientific reasons to be against vivisection here

What we do to achieve this:

We work hard to shift society's perception and attitude towards animal testing and dismantle the misconception that is embedded into our culture and society; that animal-based research is necessary to save human lives.

We campaign to abolish vivisection in various ways:

  • We promote public awareness and focus on educating the public as much as possible
  • We act as an 'info hub' for anyone interested in vivisection
  • We actively campaign on specific vivisection related issues
  • We keep an eye on New Zealand law and make sure any upcoming changes are favourable to our cause and so much more!

We are a small, dedicated team who rely heavily on volunteers and supporters to keep our fight alive.

Our Team

NZAVS is made up of the following people: 

Note: We don't have space for an individual profile for all of our amazing volunteers but they are the back bone of NZAVS and are where all of our power to make positive change comes from!

Tara Jackson

NZAVS Executive Director

Tara graduated from Massey University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Environmental Science.

She has a strong interest in animal rights, human rights and environmental protection. She has experience working with other NGOs, campaigning and fundraising.

Tara has previously worked for and been involved with organisations such as Greenpeace, WSPA, the SPCA and SAFE. Tara worked as the Campaign Manager for NZAVS for a year and half before taking on the role as Executive Director.

Contact Tara:


Phone: 0297731341

Rowan Taylor

NZAVS Committee Member

Rowan has a BSc in zoology and an MA in sociology. He is a vegan with a long history of animal and human rights activism. His first protest against vivisection was refusing to experiment on a worm in a zoology lab. While still a teenager, he co-founded the whale conservation and rescue organisation, Project Jonah, which led successful campaigns to end whale product imports, develop a Marine Mammals Protection Act, and ban whaling in NZ waters. He later co-founded the NZ branch of Peter Singer's Great Ape Project, which led to NZ being the first country in the world to ban all experiments on great apes that are not in the ape's own interests. Rowan has worked in various research and policy roles, from survey research with Statistics NZ and the Otago School of Medicine to his current position as a senior policy analyst in the Ministry for the Environment.

Vivienne Sands

NZAVS Committee Member

B.Mus (Hon), LRSM, ATCL, Dip. Secondary Teaching

Vivienne Sands has been a member of NZAVS since the mid-80's, and a  member of the Working Committee since 2012.  She is a vegan, and promotes animal and human health maintenance through natural therapies.

She worked as a volunteer on stalls and protest demos and letter writing campaigns with the late Christchurch Co-ordinator Natalie Taylor  in the 80's and early 90's. She attended the presentation of the 2nd parliamentary petition for abolition of vivisection in NZ organised by Bette Overell, founder of NZAVS. 

While living in Christchurch, Vivienne ran a successful series of interviews on the Christchurch community radio station Plains Radio exposing the scientific fraud of vivisection and the need for its abolition. 

Since moving to Taupo in 1992, she has worked on raising public awareness through education. 

Krysta Neve

NZAVS Committee Member

Krysta first became involved with NZAVS in 2014 after a collaboration campaign against the Psychoactive Substances Act, which allowed psychoactive substances to be tested on animals in New Zealand. After a successful campaign Krysta became an active volunteer organizing fundraising and public outreach for a couple of years until she became a committee member in 2015.  


When Krysta joined the committee she brought with her knowledge and experience in finance and marketing as well as a passion for campaigning. 

Olivia Doyle Franklin

NZAVS Intern

Olivia Doyle-Franklin first heard about NZVAS when she came across our stall at the Christchurch Go Green Expo. She began volunteering when she learnt about our Stop the Otago Animal Lab Campaign and attended the second protest in Dunedin. Recently Olivia has begun working as the new NZAVS intern managing educational resources through compiling information on the conscientious objection policies of Universities, high schools and other educational institutions throughout New Zealand. Olivia is currently in her final year at the University of Canterbury studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Sociology, minoring in Political Science and Anthropology.

Our Volunteer Coordinators

NZAVS has the following Volunteer Coordinators around New Zealand:


Note: If you live in a city that does not have a Volunteer Coordinator yet and you are interested in taking on the role, send an email to to find out more.


Bex Reardon

Dunedin FB


Kayla and Karl

Whangarei FB


Kalita Cresswell

Blenheim FB


Niki Moore

Christchurch FB

Manawatu/Palmerston North

Kath Bryan

Manawatu/Palmerston North FB


Sylvia Matthews

Auckland FB


Cat Shaw

Wellington FB


Sorcia Forgan

Invercargill FB

Archie & Monty

These are our ex-lab rats who were rescued in 2015. They lived at our national office in Christchurch where looked after them and gave them a happy life free from cruel and unnecessary tests.

Read more on their story here



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