On 24th July 2023, animal rights activists of the group Their Turn protested at an Adidas store in New York City to complain about the famous shoe company’s use of kangaroo skin in the manufacture of its products. The activists held signs which read “Kangaroos are not shoes” and “Just stop the slaughter.”
Kangaroo skin has been used in shoes for a long time despite protests from animal protection groups who claim the hunting of these animals in Australia is unethical. Shooting kangaroos is legal in Australia, and in response to the wrongly perceived growing population in some areas, the Australian states permit licence holders to “cull” or shoot kangaroos as long as a code of conduct is followed. The ”overpopulation” argument is just a false excuse because, due to their biology, kangaroo populations are unlikely to “explode” at any time of year.
There have been attempts to ban the sale of kangaroo skin with mixed outcomes. 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 will prohibit the sale, barter or offering of dead kangaroos and any products derived from dead kangaroos within the state. The same month, the European Commission rejected a request to ban imports of kangaroo meat from Australia to the EU for reasons of food safety. California banned kangaroo leather as long ago as 1971 (although it is believed this ban has not been properly enforced).
In March 2023, both Nike and Puma agreed to halt the use of kangaroo leather in all of their products. The former announced that it would be using a new synthetic material “that is a better performance solution and replaces the use of kangaroo leather.” However, Adidas has failed to follow suit, leading to an increase in pressure for the sporting giant to comply.