News Blog Articles 12-year-old schoolgirl’s fight against Countdown

12-year-old schoolgirl’s fight against Countdown

June 16th, 2015

One of New Zealand’s biggest retailers, Countdown, has come under increased pressure to stop selling cage eggs with a petition from a school girl attracting over 13,000 signatures so far.

12-year-old Maja Skilling from Auckland has taken on Countdown by launching a petition that has been backed by thousands of Kiwis. The petition calls for the supermarket giant to stop selling cage eggs.

Maja, who is a keen animal lover and has her own animal blog, launched her petition after she saw the cruelty of caged hens and talked to animal protection organisation SAFE.

Maja said “I have four chickens of my own, and two of them are rescued from cruel cage backgrounds.  Playing with them and observing their natural behavior shows me that life in any cage would be torture for chickens! I may only be a child, but I want to make a difference. I want Countdown to stop selling these cage eggs once and for all.”


“Maja’s petition is fantastic. Countdown markets to children via in-store collectables such as their movie cards, so it’s really important for kids to have their voices heard on this issue,” says SAFE campaigns officer Marianne Macdonald. “Kids know that caging hens is cruel. In fact, we all know it. Now Countdown must take action. Their parent company has already recognised the cruelty of caging hens, now Countdown must do the same, or risk being left behind in a global shift on animal welfare.”

SAFE has been encouraging Countdown customers to ask them to name a phase-out date for cage eggs to bring them into line with their parent company, Woolworths in Australia, who committed to stop selling cage eggs there by 2018. Countdown has already received thousands of messages and comments on social media and via email from concerned Kiwis, asking them not to stock eggs from caged hens.

Worldwide there has been a major move towards cage-free. Since the start of this year supermarket chains like Kroger and Wal-Mart in the United States, all Austrian and Dutch supermarkets, and almost all Canadian supermarkets have agreed to drop cage eggs.


Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s in New Zealand have already committed to making the same move due to public pressure, with Burger King announcing their intentions in May. In Australia ALDI has also recently decided to go cage-free after a consumer led campaign.


Donate today

Help us continue helping animals in need

As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every gift goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals. SAFE is a registered charity in New Zealand (CC 40428). Contributions of $5 or more are tax-deductible.