On 14th September 2023, animal rights activists protested against the use of Kangaroo leather in the New York Dick’s Sporting Goods store, the US’s largest retail distributor of kangaroo-leather shoes. The Center for a Humane Economy let the campaign titled “Kangaroos are Not Shoes.” Approximately 15 minutes after activists entered the store and called shoppers’ attention to the “k-leather” soccer cleats on display, NYPD officers removed the protesters.
Wayne Pacelle, president of The Center for a Humane Economy, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, said, “Dick’s Sporting Goods claims to be ‘responsible stewards of the planet’, but trafficking in wildlife parts after fires wiped out hundreds of millions of Australian animals is the epitome of irresponsibility and greed. Dick’s should join Nike and Puma in pledging to stop selling products made from kangaroo skin.”
A few days earlier, vegan actor James Cromwell staged a similar protest inside of an Adidas store in Soho, in Manhattan. He shouted, “Kangaroos are not shoes; they’re animals. Just Stop the Slaughter.”
Commercial hunters in Australia kill approximately two million kangaroos each year, though that number could decline now that Nike and Puma have pledged to replace kangaroo leather with cruelty-free materials. The Center for a Humane Economy describes the kangaroo hunt as “the largest commercial slaughter of land-based mammals on the planet.”
In 2023, US lawmakers introduced the Kangaroo Protection Bill that would ban the sale of any kangaroo parts. If passed, it would close off one of the world’s largest markets for kangaroo products.