Schoolgirl takes battle for hens to Countdown’s doorOctober 6th, 2016
12-year-old schoolgirl Maja Skilling, who launched a petition aimed at stopping Countdown selling cage eggs, is upping the ante by spending her school holiday protesting with other passionate young people outside Ponsonby Countdown today. Maja will be demanding that Countdown, ‘Have a Heart for Hens’ in Auckland, Thursday 6 October, 10am.
Maja’s petition has already attracted nearly 18,000 signatures from concerned people wanting Countdown to stop selling cage eggs. A similar petition in the United Kingdom by a 14-year-old contributed to the announcement by major supermarket Tesco that they would be cage egg-free by 2025. Maja, from Auckland, who has her own rescued ex-battery hens at home, already has a track record of speaking out for animals. She started her own blog ‘Animal Rights and Wrongs’ when only nine years old.
Maja met with Countdown in August and is pleased that the store has taken a small step in creating their ‘Egg Producer Programme’, to work towards increasing supply of non-cage eggs. However, she says that while cage eggs are on the shelves, hens are going to continue to suffer.
“I won’t be satisfied until Countdown commits to ending the sale of all cage eggs,” says Maja. “It’s not just me that cares about hens. Caging hens is cruel and three million hens are suffering in this way here in New Zealand.”
Countdown’s parent company, Woolworths in Australia, committed to stop selling cage eggs there by 2018. Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s in New Zealand have already committed to making the same move due to public pressure.
SAFE, the animal advocacy group, has been campaigning for Countdown to phase out all cage eggs and will be joining Maja at her protest.
“We’ve been working with Countdown for some time, asking them to go cage-free. It really is imperative that they listen to their customers. If it is good enough for the Aussies, why not Kiwis?” says SAFE Head of Campaigns Mandy Carter. “It is time for them to ‘name the date’ by which they will phase out these cruelly produced eggs.”
Hens live a life of misery in cages. Crowded in barren wire cages, hens’ natural instincts to scratch for food, dust-bathe and build nests is denied. The health of these birds is frequently poor, with brittle bones weakened from lack of movement.
“It is time for Countdown to listen to Kiwis of all ages, put animal welfare first and drop cage eggs,” says Maja.
Maja urges concerned people to sign her change.org petition to Countdown.