New Balance, one of the world’s major sports footwear and apparel manufacturers based in Boston, will phase out its use of kangaroo skins for some of its shoes and halt sales of kangaroo-based shoes by next December. On 27th September 2023, the company confirmed this to the Center for a Humane Economy, an animal protection organisation that has been campaigning against the use of kangaroo skin.
Six months earlier, the American company Nike announced a similar policy. Puma and Adidas, based in Germany, and Diadora, based in Italy, have also said the same. However, Mizuno, based in Japan, still uses Kangaroo skin in football shoes. All of these companies, though, continue using the skin of domestic animals, which means they still have a long way to go to be considered ethical companies.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action, said, “New Balance deserves our praise for pledging to disassociate itself from the wildlife-skin trade. The two biggest athletic shoe sellers based in the United States have announced in 2023 that they will rapidly phase out sourcing kangaroo skins for soccer shoes, and there’s no question that the decisions will diminish the financing of the commercial massacres of kangaroos in their native habitats in Australia.”
Emma Hurst, a Member of Parliament in New South Wales, said, “We applaud New Balance on their decision to stop using kangaroo in their soccer cleats and the Center for a Humane Economy for helping make it happen. “The demand for kangaroo leather is driving the commercial slaughter of kangaroos across Australia. New Balance is now among other major brands like Nike who are turning away from the unnecessary trade in wild native animals.”
More than a million wild kangaroos are shot every year in Australia as part of commercial hunting for their skin. As many as 300,000 joeys are orphaned and die after their mothers are killed in night-time shoots.