A petition has been presented to parliament calling for the government to make it mandatory for animals used for research and testing to be offered up for adoption first instead of being euthanised.
This would mean that research and breeding facilities would be required to offer animals to registered animal rescues before euthanasia is considered.
The petition, with 15000 signatures, has today been accepted by Green MP Mojo Mathers on behalf of the government.
Ms Mathers says the issue of animal testing is "very close to her heart".
A crowd of around 70 people turned out to show their support for the petition, accompanied by at least 14 dogs and a pony.
Animal welfare advocate Carolyn Press-Mckenzie told 1 NEWS outside parliament that "at the moment hundreds of thousands of animals are killed every year, through laboratories".
"So many of them are still healthy when they are destroyed and we think those animals deserve a chance outside the labs," she said.
New Zealand Anti-Vivisection New Zealand Society and Helping You Help Animals say they've been campaigning for the policy change for two years.
"We have over 15,000 signatures on this petition, that is 15,000 New Zealanders that care about the lives of these animals. Parliament should take note of how their constituents feel on this issue," said Tara Jackson, Executive Director of NZAVS.