The Six-Foot Rats

The Six-Foot Rats — An important and powerful educational tool disguised as a fun and colourful children's book!


For the future of science and medical advancement, our goal is to have this book in all public and primary school libraries in New Zealand and change the course of history and you can be part of the impact!

We want to spread this message far and wide, and where better to start than with our children. Children are our future, and if we can change their perceptions and break the current conventional cycle, the next generation will help us see animal experimentation become a dark story in a history book.

We want to send the book to 2,106 libraries across NZ in total! It costs $10 for each book to appear in a library. That means we need $21,060 

Help us get The Six-Foot Rats into public libraries and primary schools across NZ HERE

Miss Vale with 8-Year old Izzi after her class would read The Six-Foot Rats


A Christchurch primary school read the Six-Foot Rats in class and the response was powerful and could mark a change in history for animals in science. After the teacher Miss Vale read the book out to class, they had a discussion about animal experimentation. The children were all very engaged and spoke out about their anger that animals were hurt like that, for nothing.


8-Year old Izzi said:

“I want to save all rats and start an animal sanctuary with my Mum. It’s wrong to test on animals and it needs to stop.”

It was clear that children understand that it makes no sense to test on rats to find cures for humans. This is an important step towards creating a generation that supports a shift away from animal experimentation.


Miss Vale said:

The Six Foot Rats was an enjoyable and informational book that I read to my class. It teaches the importance of why testing on animals for beauty and medicinal purposes is inhumane and cruel as our species are both completely different. 

We are all really grateful that there are amazing organisations like NZAVS out there helping fight this fight for the poor animals that are affected by this.” 

The Six-Foot Rats is a must-read for all children in NZ if we want to see animal experimentation become a thing of the past.

Please consider making a donation today so that all kids can learn about the bizarre logic behind animal experimentation and help us create a future where science exists without suffering. 

Note: The total amount we need to raise is subject to change if we get schools returning our donation (this could happen for a number of reasons). 

The Six-Foot Rats

We teamed up with local artist Rebecca Gibbs to create an engaging storybook that introduces children to the scientific invalidity of animal-based research. Rebecca is a very talented artist who is also a big supporter of us and the work we do to end animal testing in New Zealand — read more about her below!

The Six-Foot Rats tells the story of two lab rats who come to the realisation that they are being used to find treatments for humans – not for Six-Foot Rats!

The book aims to introduce children to the important, yet sensitive issue of animal testing in a light and engaging manner. Whilst this topic is a serious and often upsetting one, The Six-Foot Rats instead focuses on the fundamental truth (stressing the FUN), as discovered by the lab rats in the book: animals are not humans and it is strange and bizarre to compare the two.

We want to educate as many young Kiwi minds as possible about the important issue of animal testing with this book. 

The Six-Foot Rats has already received positive reviews from Jane Goodall (Ph.D., Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace), Nichola Kriek (Head of Education, SAFE ) and Craig Smith (Author of The Wonkey Donkey and Musician). 

Buy your own copy of The Six-Foot Rats HERE

More About the Book 



A lab rat’s job is being poked, prodded, and tested on in every way. It’s not an easy job but one rat is happy to do it...until he learns the truth!

By presenting the truth about vivisection in a fun, approachable way, we can begin to open dialogue with our children about the place of animals in our society. If we plant the seed of compassion, truth, and scientific facts, our children will grow to become better informed and empathetic to animal rights issues, especially regarding vivisection.


The book features full-colour illustrations by Christchurch teacher and illustrator Rebecca Gibbs. The characters are cute and lively and this book can be read as a bedtime story with no worries of tears or nightmares! Unlike most of the lab animals in New Zealand, our story has a happy ending and one that aims to inspire children also!

The Six-Foot Rats was written for 6-10-year olds but can be enjoyed by everyone!



Why did we make a children's book?

Children are our future, together they will decide what is morally acceptable within society. It is so important that we give children as many tools as we possibly can to help them make the best moral and evidence-based decisions in the future. This was a huge inspiration for NZAVS to develop a kids book – The Six-Foot Rats.

The passing of Archie and Monty, our rescued ex-laboratory rats, was also a big part of the inspiration behind the creation of this book.  We didn't want their story couldn’t go untold. They were lucky enough to have a life after the lab, unlike so many animals in New Zealand. We want to give more animals like Archie and Monty a second chance and the best way to make this happen is by educating people.

Children of Aotearoa need to be given the opportunity to learn about animal experimentation, It is their future that will be impacted most if we do not steer our research and testing methods in a better direction.

Animal experimentation is an important issue globally, we think that this book is a must-have in all spaces where education and creating a better world is valued.

All profits from ‘The Six-Foot Rats’ will go towards our anti-animal testing campaign work. By purchasing one of these books, you will be directly helping us continue our fight to abolish vivisection in NZ as well as helping educate the young minds of Kiwi kids!

About the Author

We are lucky enough to have the very talented Rebecca Gibbs help us by writing and illustrating the book. Rebecca Gibbs is a teacher and an illustrator. She has a passion for creating stories through engaging illustrations. She currently lives and teaches in Christchurch with her rescue cat and energetic Border Collie. Rebecca’s favourite things to illustrate are animals and adventurous characters! Before studying Communications and Design at CPIT, she worked as a full-time primary school teacher both in New Zealand and overseas. Rebecca was recently a finalist in the Storylines Gavin Bishop Illustration Award 2017.

This is the first book both written and illustrated by Rebecca.

She wrote and illustrated this book for the purposes of helping NZAVS raise money to continue their work which is very close to her heart. Up until a few years ago, Rebecca believed, like most New Zealanders, that animal testing was an unfortunate necessity. After being approached by NZAVS to do some design work, she began to look into vivisection and was shocked to learn the facts surrounding its validity. Since that time, she has continued to work with NZAVS to create a picture book that would prevent children from growing up believing the same untruths she did.


Colouring-In Competition

We currently have a colouring-in competition for all primary school students in NZ. The winner and their teacher will get a $100 Warehouse Stationery Voucher! Entries need to be in by April 12th 2018. Print out your copy and find out more details HERE. 


Our Book Launch!

Starting from the left: Ruth Dyson (Labour MP), Chloe Swarbrick (Green MP), Rebecca Gibbs (Author and Illustrator), Tara Jackson (NZAVS Executive Director), Gareth Hughes (Green MP) and Poto Williams (Labour MP)

We officially launched our book on the 18th of November 2017. It was a hugely successful day!

Read more about the launch here.

Where can you buy The Six-Foot Rats?

Not only can you purchase the book from our online shop here but you can also buy the book from the following shops:

- Paper Plus Select Kaiapoi (125 Williams St, Christchurch, Kaiapoi)

- Paper Plus Cromwell (19 The Mall, Cromwell)

- V1 Vegan Store (207 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington)

- The Cruelty-Free Shop (143 Williamson Ave, Grey Lynn, Auckland)

- Wardini Books (16 Te Mata Road, Havelock North) 

- Volume Books Online Store

- Mighty Ape Online Store

For schools and libraries our book is available on:

Wheelers Books

Academy Book Company

Unity Books 


If you run a bookstore, toy shop or supportive store and would like to stock our book then please get in touch —

Thank you to all of our amazing sponsors for helping us produce this book!

On the top right-hand side of this webpage, you can see the full list of generous individuals who have sponsored the book!

We also want to say a huge thank you to the organisations and companies who sponsored The Six-Foot Rats.




Suzy Cato (Suzy & Friends) released the above review on our book. 10-year-old Mila gives a full review and tells us what the book taught her. "I did learn that I now don't think I will buy any animal tested products," said Mila. Watch the full review via the link above!

“The Six-Foot Rats, with its delightful illustrations, introduces children to the important issue of animal testing without giving them nightmares. I highly recommend this imaginative and informative book.”- Jane Goodall, PhD, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace.


“It’s not very often you can say you’ve met the heroes of a book – but I was fortunate to have met Archie and Monty the NZAVS ex-lab rats who inspired this endearing story Six-Foot Rats. It’s wonderful to see Archie and Monty immortalised in this beautifully illustrated and narrated story.

So often we portray animals in children’s books from our own dominant human perspective but this book tells the story from the rats’ point of view. It deftly and simply explains the inaccuracies of animal experimentation in a way that is easy for children to understand.

It’s so rare to find a children’s book that advocates for animals. Parents and teachers who want to help children understand what happens to animals in experiments will be delighted to include this important book in their library.” - Nichola Kriek – Head of Education, SAFE (New Zealand’s Biggest Animal Rights Organisation)


“The Six Foot Rats is a delightful children’s story book - akin to Dr Seuss stories – that follows the realisation of a terrible truth.Like many in our society, the main characters blindly accept that animal testing is par for the course in determining the safety of drugs, but they learn that humans are not six foot rats and that we react quite differently, meaning that the suffering these animals endure in labs is in vain.

The colourful illustrations and verse add simplicity and clarity to an issue that’s generally considered too graphic and confronting, hopefully teaching our future generations to question standard practices and to promote compassion as well as logic.

The story was inspired by two actual lab rats who were rescued and lived at the NZAVS office. What a wonderful legacy for little Archie and Monty to have left the world.“- Helen Marston, Chief Executive Officer, Humane Research Australia Inc.


"I liked that I learned something from this book. I get excited when books that are primarily aimed at youth end up teaching the more mature something too. I've been against vivisection in theory but because of this book, I will endeavour to educate myself further on this practice" - Craig Smith, Author of The Wonkey Donkey and Musician


A review of The Six-Foot Rats by Upstart Magazine in volume 12, Issue 6 (December 2017/January 2018) issue. 


The Book asks the same questions that I 've  been asking on numerous occasions, how on earth is an experiment on a rat going to work out something that is helpful to humans, I just don't get the connection — Terry Toner from the Book Show on Radio Southland 

How can you help?

We want to educate as many young minds as possible and have The Six-Foot Rats in schools, libraries, and stores all around New Zealand — We need your help to make this happen! 




  • Sahra Leybourne - Auckland
  • Hawking & Da Vinci Hill - Christchurch
  • Jordan Wyatt - Invercargill
  • Vicky Broad - Levin
  • Eli Styles - Auckland
  • Niki Moore - Christchurch
  • Melissa Warman - Wellington
  • Ally Graves - Christchurch
  • Erin O'Loan - Dunedin
  • Madeline Jensen - Whangarei
  • Lenice & Bill Jackson - Timaru
  • Valerie Leppard - Waikato
  • Akita Carpenter - Wellington
  • Margaret Cahill - Kerikeri
  • Michaela Hull - Gore
  • Rebma Williams - New Plymouth
  • Louise Ward - Auckland
  • Emma Parker - Christchurch
  • Natasha Easey - Auckland
  • Hera & Zula Jackson - Christchurch
  • Charlotte J - Wellington
  • Jessica S - Auckland
  • Paul and Susie Beach - Auckland
  • Purita Mok - Auckland
  • Victoria O'Sullivan - Auckland
  • Fiona O'Sullivan - Auckland
  • Leila M. Taylor - Waipu
  • Hillary Bisschops - Hamilton
  • Martin & Rose Williamson - Katikati
  • Steve Bailey - Auckland
  • Pam and Peter O'Sullivan - Auckland
  • Tara Jackson - Christchurch
  • Sylvia Matthews - Auckland
  • Olive Hope Gilliland - Tauranga
  • Liam Oliver Darroch - Auckland
  • Strathdee-Limbe Whanau - Canterbury
  • Lucy Verde Roze - Waimakariri
  • Kelly Adams - Wellington
  • Clare Woodford-Robinson - Wellington
  • Maggy Cziraki - Wellington
  • Mikael Antoniades - Christchurch
  • Dr Annie Potts - Canterbury
  • Jessica Martin - Auckland
  • Katherine Homer - Auckland
  • Cliff Terry - Taupo
  • Danielle Gregan - Christchurch
  • Izzy Roberts - Dunedin
  • Emere McDonald - Auckland
  • Xavier & Ollie Siemonek-Wilson - Christchurch
  • Graham French - Christchurch
  • The Payton Family - Christchurch
  • Kath Bryan - Fielding
  • Tim Pate - Wellington
  • Tigerlily Sands - Taupo
  • Lilah and Indie Smith - Waiouru
  • Wolfgang Bailey - Auckland


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