NZAVS Home > Obituaries
Bette Overell founded the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society in 1978. For almost 20 years she worked tirelessly, as President of the Society, campaigning to abolish vivisection. Bette led the Society in its marches through the streets of Wellington in the 1980s and 1990s, organised petitions to Parliament, including the Petition to Abolish the LD50 Test, which was recommended for favourable consideration and the 1989 Petition to Abolish Vivisection - which achieved over 100,000 signatures. Bette then turned her attention to rebutting the propaganda put out by the New Zealand pro-vivisection industry. In 1993, her book Animal Research Takes Lives - Humans and Animals Both Suffer was published by NZAVS. This book remains a valuable reference to quickly respond to pro-vivisection claims. In the mid-1990s, Bette 'retired' but still kept a careful watch on NZAVS and was active where she could be. Bette was instrumental in keeping NZAVS firmly on the scientific anti-vivisection path, despite attempts by some rogues to hijack the Society and change the focus to animal rights. Bette passed away on 11 August 2007. Her husband, John - who supported both her and NZAVS tremendously - had passed away a couple of years earlier.
Hans Ruesch, discovered the horrors and fraud of vivisection in the 1970s and broke from his career as a best-selling novelist to concentrate on exposing animal experimentation. He authored the breakthrough scientific anti-vivisection book Slaughter of the Innocent, and went on to further expose the industry with Naked Empress and 1000 Doctors (and many more) Against Vivisection. He founded CIVIS (Centre for Scientific Information on Vivisection) and was instrumental in setting up the International League of Doctors Against Vivisection. As Patron of NZAVS, Hans supported our activities strongly. Hans died on 27 August 2007, aged 94.