Maja cam­paigns at Count­down’s door

Auckland City Harbour News - - OUT & ABOUT - SA­MAN­THA SMITH

Maja Skilling is stand­ing up for those who can­not speak for them­selves.

The 12-year-old protested out­side Pon­sonby Count­down along with other youth who are part of var­i­ous an­i­mal groups.

Skilling started an on­line pe­ti­tion ear­lier this year, call­ing on the su­per­mar­ket chain to stop sell­ing caged eggs which has been backed by more than 17,500 peo­ple.

The Waikowhai In­ter­me­di­ate School stu­dent says the protest was or­gan­ised af­ter hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with the an­i­mal rights or­gan­i­sa­tion, SAFE about how to get more ex­po­sure for the pe­ti­tion.

‘‘I want to keep the pres­sure on Count­down. They still haven’t named the date, but they say they are work­ing on get­ting egg pro­duc­ers to go free range.’’

Skilling says Count­down didn’t know about the protest be­fore­hand.

‘‘But I’m sure they would have heard and seen us. No one from Count­down came out to talk to us.’’

She met with Count­down in Au­gust who then an­nounced the Egg Pro­ducer Pro­gramme for Free Range and Barn eggs.

Skilling thinks it is a pos­i­tive step in the right di­rec­tion, how­ever she says her pe­ti­tion is ask­ing for Count­down to go com­pletely cage free.

‘‘I won’t be sat­is­fied un­til Count­down has ditched cage eggs once and for all. While cage eggs re­main on the shelves, hens are still suf­fer­ing.’’

SAFE cam­paigns of­fi­cer Mar­i­anne Mac­don­ald says they will con­tinue to sup­port Maja through her cam­paign­ing as she is a great ex­am­ple of some­one who cares and is tak­ing ac­tion.

Count­down spokesper­son James Walker says they had con­ver­sa­tions with Maja and her fam­ily, and SAFE, and they let them know that they are in­creas­ing the amount of free range and barn eggs on their shelves.

‘‘In Au­gust, we an­nounced the Count­down Egg Pro­ducer Pro­gramme for Free Range and Barn eggs to sup­port farm­ers to in­crease the avail­abil­ity of free range and barn eggs. At the mo­ment, only about 18 per cent of eggs pro­duced in New Zealand are free range.

‘‘As a su­per­mar­ket with a wide range of cus­tomers, we’re also con­scious that Ki­wis want a choice of eggs and af­ford­able op­tions.’’

TOM CARNEGIE

Maja Ski­il­ing and other young ac­tivists have cam­paigned out­side Pon­sonby Count­down.

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