The Six-Foot Rats

 Introducing our New Kids' Book, The Six-Foot Rats!

The Six-Foot Rats — The New Children’s Book Designed to Educate, Inspire and Help both Animals and Humans!

The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) have 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.

NZAVS are aiming to educate as many young Kiwi minds as possible about the important issue of animal testing with this book. We plan on getting the book into all primary schools in NZ, as many libraries as possible and it will be available in all good bookstores! 

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). 

The book has also been sponsored by multiple organisations and companies who also want to see an end to animal experimentation. These include LUSH, The Humane Society International, SAFE and The NZ Vegetarian Society. 

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

This amusing story with its vibrant illustrations will be a hit with children of all ages (and maybe some of us adult kids as well!) — you can buy a copy here




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 decide to create 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.



The Six-Foot Rats Colouring in Competition!

In celebration of our book launch event for our new children's book, The Six-Foot Rats, the amazing designer who we have teamed up with has now created a beautiful colouring competition for kids all around NZ to colour in!

Rebecca Gibbs is the illustrator and author of our book. She also does a large proportion of our design work — Thank you for sharing your amazing talent with us, Rebecca!


This competition is now closed, below are the two winning entries:

Jennifer De Carlo (aged 29) won the adult's section. 
Forest Lussing (age 8) won the children's section.












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 Alexandra (64 Centennial Ave, Alexandra)

- Paper Plus Cromwell (19 The Mall, Cromwell)

- Scorpio Books Christchurch (120 Hereford St, Christchurch Central)

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

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

McLeods Booksellers Ltd (1148 Pukuatua St, Rotorua)

- 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.



Saving Wilma: Their mission is to educate people about the horrors of the Greyhound Racing Industry with the end goal of getting Greyhound racing banned in New Zealand and eventually worldwide.

The Black Sheep Animal Sanctuary: They do the important job of rehabilitating and re-homing abused, injured and neglected animals in Otaki, NZ. 

Saving Animals from Exploitation (SAFE): They are New Zealand’s leading animal advocacy organisation. They aim to make significant improvements to the lives of animals by raising awareness, challenging cruel practices, changing attitudes and fostering compassion so that they are no longer exploited or abused by humans.

Mellow Cosmetics: A cruelty-free and fully vegan cosmetics company who make quality make-up!

Hurraw!: They produce a wide variety of vegan-friendly lip balms that are made from premium raw and organic ingredients

Safer Medicines: They are an independent patient safety organisation of scientists and doctors with extensive expertise in drug development based in the UK. Their aim is to change the way medicines are tested, so they are safer for humans: moving from a system based mainly on tests on animals to one focused firmly on human biology.

NZ Vegetarian Society: They are an advocacy group that promotes vegetarianism. Their aim is to increase vegetarianism to reduce cruelty to animals, improve human health, protect the environment and preserve world resources.

Beagle Freedom Australia: Their mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and find homes for beagles as well as any other animal used in laboratory research.

Oasis Beauty: They produce high quality, cruelty-free skin care products and are based in Oxford, New Zealand

National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS): Their aim is to end the exploitation of animals used in science and they are based in the US. 

LUSH: They produce fresh handmade, vegetarian, cruelty-free cosmetics worldwide. Not only do they make products free from animal testing but they also actively work to end animal experimentation worldwide by funding human-relevant research and anti-animal testing campaigns.

Humane Society International:  They are one of the only global animal protection organizations working to help all animals—including animals in laboratories, animals on farms, companion animals and wildlife—and our record of achievement demonstrates our dedication and effectiveness. Celebrating animals, confronting cruelty—worldwide. 


Thank you so much to all the above sponsors who have helped us with all associated costs of the designing, publishing, and launching our book!

Order The Six-Foot Rats HERE


The Six-Foot Rats has received the following reviews:


“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 aim 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! We will be launching a crowd fundraising to get The Six-Foot Rats into every primary school in NZ! Keep an eye on this page for updates. 


Keep an eye on this page for information about our book!





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