On 16th May 2024, the giant sportswear company Adidas found its Annual General Meeting disrupted by animal rights organisations calling for stopping the use of kangaroo skins in the production of its shoes. 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. However, Adidas continues using them.

Adidas’ CEO Björn Gulden acknowledged that the killing of kangaroos in such a way was “terrible” and added that there could be a “switch faster than you think”.

Jennifer Skiff, director of the Kangaroos Are Not Shoes campaign at the Center for a Humane Economy, responded to that comment with the following:  “We encourage [Gulden] to make that announcement soon, since the worldwide animal welfare community is deeply concerned that Adidas is an outlier on this issue and its sourcing of skins violates its publicly stated policies about the humane treatment of animals.”

Karola Mang, a member of Animal Rebellion that organised the disruption of Adidas’ AGM, said, “When I found out Adidas was the last major company to support this and was using flimsy excuses to justify their participation, I realised I had to do something against it.”

On 2nd and 3rd December 2023, animal rights activists in 20 cities in the world staged protests in front of Adidas stores as part of a global campaign asking the company to stop using kangaroo skin in its shoes’ cleats. Animal rights groups staged protests in Australia, Canada, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States. In July 2023, Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick re-introduced the Kangaroo Protection Act, which could ban the importation and sale of kangaroo products in the US. The state of California banned the import and sale of products made from kangaroos in 1971.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.