In January 2023, a new bill was introduced in the Connecticut General Assembly to ban kangaroo products. If passed, the Kangaroo Protection Act of 2023 (H.B. 5113) will prohibit the sale, barter or offering of dead kangaroos and any products derived from dead kangaroos within the state. Australia continues to allow kangaroo shooting for commercial reasons and often kangaroo leather is exported to the US to be used in shoes.
The bill was introduced by Rep. David Michel, D-Stamford, and now has been referred to the Joint Committee on Commerce for consideration. Rep. Mitchel said: “The kangaroo industry in Australia engages in the largest commercial slaughter of land-based wild animals in the world. Each year, around 2 million wild kangaroos are gunned down in their native habitat to primarily provide their skins to Nike and Adidas to manufacture under-performing cleats.”
Connecticut could become the second state that bans Kangaroo products after California banned it as long ago as 1971 (although it has not been properly enforced). But it could be beaten by Oregon, (where the shoe manufacturer Nike is based), which recently also introduced a similar bill. The EU also tried to ban these products but the EU Commission rejected the proposal.
Jo-Anne Basile, executive director of CT Votes for Animals, an animal protection organisation that lobbied for this ban, said to CT Insider: “We traditionally don’t get involved in international issues. But we have an opportunity to take action against what I consider a pipeline of cruelty coming into the state.”
David Croft, a retired kangaroo behavioural ecologist, said the following about the Australian kangaroo shooting industry: “The industry reinvented itself in the 1990s from a pest management service to become a gatherer of sustainable resources to tempt the carnivore palate and invoke the athleticism of kangaroos in your sports shoes…The question to me is why does Connecticut need kangaroo products from an industry which is eternally in search of a rationale but is very good at propaganda to its clients and to its consumers?”