Hen hero takes her fight for caged hens to Countdown’s door

12-year-old schoolgirl Maja Skilling, who launched a petition aimed at stopping Countdown selling cage eggs, has upped the ante by spending her school holiday protesting with other passionate young people outside Ponsonby Countdown. Maja and other youngsters, demanded that Countdown, ‘Have a Heart for Hens’.  

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.  

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.   

See more photos of the action.


Take Action:

• Sign and share Maja’s petition.

Email Countdown to tell them to drop cage eggs


6 October 2016