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June 23, 2011

Washington Teen Is Top Signature Gatherer for Yes! on 1130 Initiative

High school student Kitty Jones wants egg-laying hens to have more room to move

  • Kitty met HSUS president Wayne Pacelle at a recent stop on his book tour. Dan Paul/The HSUS

  • "Volunteering is my life!" says Kitty, who volunteers at Pigs Peace Sanctuary as well as several other animal sanctuaries and nonprofits. Kitty Jones

She just wrapped up her junior year at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington, but a lazy vacation is not in Kitty Jones’ summer plans.

For months already, Kitty has been collecting signatures in support of Initiative 1130, a ballot measure that would prevent extreme confinement of egg-laying hens. 

Kitty told us more about how and why she's gotten nearly 8,000 people (and counting!) to sign in support of the campaign.


How have you gone about gathering signatures for the I-1130 campaign?

These hens desperately need our help. Putting aside my self-consciousness and shyness, I approach anybody and everybody to ask them to sign. I'm always smiling, not just because I want to appear happy, but because I'm doing what I know is right. Even if I-1130 doesn't make the ballot, I wouldn't regret a moment of the time I spent on it, because I know I was doing the right thing.

Why do you think this ballot initiative is important?

I-1130 is a direct manifestation of the growing public concern for animals and an unsettling reminder to the industries that exploit animals that they cannot cover up their trail of cruelty and abuse.

Help Washington's six million egg-laying hens >>

What kind of responses do you get when you approach people for signatures?

I get a lot of initial opposition, but once I explain, most people sign. It seems the people against the initiative aren't actually against the initiative itself, but they have some other topic that grinds their gears and decide to blame 1130 for it. It's not personal so there's no reason for me to be upset.

One argument I sometimes hear is, "Why aren't you fighting for a better cause? What about human suffering?" I've learned it's impossible to be answered because the person asking won't listen no matter what. The answer is that all suffering is interconnected.

How else have you spoken up for animals?

I've volunteered for over 20 nonprofits in the past three years, earning over 1,000 hours of community service (well over the 60 required by my school). But the hours mean nothing—it's about making and being the change that we need so badly in this world. 

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