Preventing Live Sheep From Being Used for Teaching

WIN: Teaching on live sheep avoided


There are no wins without the work. Thanks to a people-powered campaign driven by the determination of our supporters, together we did it!

The issue: The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), was planning to use live sheep to teach surgeons how to do gynaecological surgeries during the Pre-Meeting Workshops at their Annual Scientific Meeting. This was even despite the existence of better and more humane methods.

We were concerned for two main reasons:

  1. For the wellbeing of future human patients.
  2. For the wellbeing of the sheep they wanted to perform surgeries on.

The solution: We contacted RANZCOG to find out if they had considered using one of the many viable non-animal-based methods that currently exist instead. NZAVS even offered to help source alternative equipment that could be used instead and could train the students better. Their response was to remove all references to the live sheep from their website! The ‘nothing to see here’ avoidance approach!

A blocking response like that, gave NZAVS and our supporters the go-head to campaign for these sheep and others it could potentially set a precedent for. “Not on our watch”, our supporters agreed

Tactics included:

  • Together with our supporters, we contacted the RANZCOG Board, Council and the Conference Organising Committee members, urging them to stop their plans to use live sheep and use a better, more humane method instead.
  • Again, we received a disappointing response. RANZCOG was still planning on going ahead with their plans to use live sheep to train obstetricians and gynaecologists at their upcoming laparoscopic training workshops being held at Middlemore Hospital (Auckland) over two days.
  • They then removed all mention of the laparoscopic workshop from the annual scientific meeting programme! Again, the ‘nothing to see here’ avoidance approach.
  • We then started inviting our fierce supporter base to send an online message to RANZCOG, urging them to end their plans to use live sheep and instead use one of the more scientifically sound and humane options.
  • At the same time, an online petition was set up to help send this clear message to RANZCOG. 
  • After hundreds of our supporters sent a message to RANZCOG and/or signed the petition asking RANZCOG to make the right decision, they announced the cancellation of the workshop that involved using live sheep for laparoscopic training.

Thank you so much to all our supporters behind this people-powered campaign who sent an online message, signed the petition and raised their voices to defend these animals and others who could have suffered in the future.


We will continue to inform teaching, testing and research organisations on the many viable non-animal-based methods that can be used for their work. By doing so, we will ultimately reduce their reliance on using animals and, where possible, deliver better integrity and quality of the science we produce in Aotearoa.


Together with our supporters, we did it! Live sheep will no longer be used to train on at the upcoming RANZCOG conference(s). We also want to thank RANZCOG for listening to and respecting public opinion and making this humane change.

With your help we can end animal experimentation in Aotearoa.