For the first time in a generation, the Kangaroo Protection Act (H.R. 917) has been introduced in the United States Congress to address the mass slaughter of kangaroos for athletic shoes and other garments.
Some two million kangaroos are killed each year in the largest commercial slaughter of mammals on the planet. Kangaroos are killed for their skins, including for soccer shoes, and their meat is used for pet food. Though over a billion animals were killed in the Australian wildfires, leaving so much carnage and loss of life, Australian political leaders continue to support massive commercial killing of the nation’s iconic animal.
Although manufacturers like Nike and Adidas have made great strides in developing soccer shoes made of synthetic materials (sometimes derived from recycled ocean plastic), more than a dozen major soccer shoe companies continue to use kangaroo leather. An exception is Diadora, which announced it will stop using kangaroo skin by the end of 2020. British fashion designer Paul Smith, who recently collaborated with New Balance on a kangaroo leather soccer shoe, has also disavowed using kangaroo. As have many other fashion brands like Versace and Stella McCartney.
The Business Case:
Given that synthetic soccer shoes are lighter, more durable, sustainable and environmentally-friendly — and don’t come with the stigma of a dead animal — the demand for kangaroo leather will decrease. Awareness about the plight of kangaroos and other wildlife affected by the Australian wildfires makes this already indefensible slaughter even more archaic and retrograde. Further, California is the largest market for soccer shoes in the US and prohibits kangaroo leather from being imported or sold in the state.
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IMAGERY SOURCE: centerforahumaneeconomy.org