Kangaroos Are Not Shoes

Nike and nine other brands offer 59 models of soccer cleats made of kangaroo skin. That’s a step too far.

The horror of Australia aflame in 2019 and 2020 has itself sparked a movement to help kangaroos, the iconic mascots for the continent and a captivating draw for visitors from afar. 

Commercial shooters kill over two million kangaroos a year, including bludgeoning any joeys found near or in the pouches of their slain mothers. After the unsellable body parts are cast aside, the skins are used in athletic shoes and other leather goods while the industry that conducts the slaughter strains to find markets for the meat, used mainly as pet food.

Today, the Center for a Humane Economy, with dozens of partners including animal organizations, scientists, and politicians is announcing a global campaign to stop this supply-chain abuse. The rallying point is our new micro-site, www.KangaroosAreNotShoes.org, a comprehensive portal for the campaign.

“Kangaroos Are Not Shoes” is a campaign with a single end goal: secure commitments from athletic shoe companies to rid their supply chains of kangaroo skins.

We hope you’ll join us.  You can start by signing the petition here.

Australia’s Fires Wake the World to the Plight of the Continent’s Wildlife

The wildfires that charred the soil and climbed into the canopies of the trees — a vertical and horizontal razing of ecosystems — didn’t just hurt “Australia.” The fires swallowed up the plants and forests and burned animals. The frightening and apocalyptic scene vividly dramatized that fire — a needed element to forge the cleansing and renewal of ecosystems — had morphed into a life-obliterating, runaway inferno.

One prominent Queensland scientist estimates more than a billion animals died. Flames easily outpaced the arboreal koalas, but even kangaroos often could not outrun the fire. This being Australia, a broad range of unique and iconic animals suffered: dingos, emus, platypuses, wombats, possums, long-footed potoroos, silver-headed antechinus, regent honey-eaters, and sugar gliders.

Where was Noah when we needed him?

If you don’t think climate change is an animal protection issue, wake up and smell the embers.

Kangaroos had it tough even before the fires, being subjected to the largest commercial killing of land-based wildlife in the world. This carnage is organized, subsidized and promoted by the Australian government, which sets an annual kill quota of nearly five million kangaroos.

The government’s unenforceable “National Code of Practice for Commercial Killing” encourages shooters to kill kangaroos with a single lethal shot to the brain. A few problems make that, at best, an aspiration: The dark. The distance. The fleeing kangaroos. Their small heads.

The “Code” also dictates best practices for handling the joeys, whether “in pouch” or “at foot”, by administering “a blow to the head delivered with force sufficient to crush the skull and destroy the brain.” Swinging the joey by his legs into a truck bumper or rock seems to do the trick as often as not.

The tropes put forward by the government to justify the hunts — shooters are trained, the hunt is humane, kangaroos compete with cattle – are deconstructed in a searing new documentary by Australian filmmakers Mick McIntyre and Kate McIntyre Clere. You can read about these filmmakers and see the movie’s trailer, at our site.  It is a must-see for anyone trying to grasp how a nation that puts the kangaroo on its national coat-of-arms and dollar coins puts the same animal in the crosshairs of rifle scopes. That’s as mind bending as a Beckham corner kick.

It’s the Soccer Cleats, Stupid

Kangaroo meat has not been a significant part of the Australian diet in centuries, if it ever was. Notorious for harboring pathogens, kangaroo meat is banned in Russia, Belgium, and in countless supermarkets around the world.

Yet it’s actually the athletic shoe companies, chiefly Nike and adidas, that drive the commercial killing. “This [soccer shoe] industry is vital to the kangaroo industry,” said a spokesman for the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia. “Without it underpinning kangaroo skin prices, the entire industry would be at risk.” Soccer cleats are the signature product made from kangaroos.

If soccer shoppers stopped buying products with kangaroo skin, Nike wouldn’t be doing business with the commercial ecosystem that’s disassembling these marsupials, including: The shooters. The processing plants. The tanneries. The skin exporters. The manufacturers. The distributors. It’s all laid out in detail at our website, and if it gives soccer players and the public pause, that’s the goal, so to speak.

The Center for a Humane Economy has identified 59 models of kangaroo-skin soccer shoes available to American shoppers from adidas, Lotto, Mizuno, New Balance, Nike, Pantofola d’oro, Puma, Umbro and Under Armour.  Our ‘No Buy List’ of kangaroo skin soccer shoes is available on our site and can  be carried into soccer retailers to guide purchasing decisions and start conversations.

Nike and adidas must shed the skins. The state of California forbids the sale of kangaroo cleats. Diadora, the Italian sportswear brand, will stop using kangaroo by the end of 2020. 

While kangaroo skin was cutting-edge when introduced by Puma in 1970, today it’s a relic. According to the Bootwizard, one of the leading soccer cleat authorities on the Internet, most cleats today are synthetic, with break-through materials fashioned into mesh and knit or even fake kangaroo skin, like Nike’s Kanga-Lite or adidas’ HybridTouch. The polyester in many of the shoes comes from recycled plastic including water bottles and reclaimed ocean plastic. The industry’s excitement is with new compounds coming from the labs, not the Outback.

Both Nike and adidas have embraced the mantra of sustainability. But they can breathe more life into those claims by reimagining their companies’ relationship with kangaroos. Their connection to this grisly trade puts a low ceiling on any of their claims about being a good corporate citizen.

Some months ago, at a time when the world was grieving for kangaroos surrounded by flames that engulfed their homes, many Americans thousands of miles away wanted to help. While catching a flight to Australia to volunteer at a wildlife rescue organization wasn’t an option for most, there was and still is a way to help reduce the risks to kangaroos: Pledge never to purchase soccer shoes (or any product) made from kangaroo skin and help us win this campaign. It’s a minor preference for people shopping for shoes, but it’s a matter of life and death for the kangaroos.

18 thoughts on “Kangaroos Are Not Shoes”

  1. Please stop killing kangaroos for athletic shoes. Kangaroos are a world natural treasure. Use non leather materials.

  2. Please, it’s the 21st Century, there are so many synthetic materials to make shoes. And faux leather. It is no longer necessary to kill another species for our footwear. It’s barbaric and out/dated.
    Come out of the cave and evolve .

  3. Happy to help the push to get manufactures cancel their orders for the unsustainable source of kangaroo leather for their products, many have already done so, let’s see if these giants can use their access to technology and make changes to their products to stop the use of kangaroo leather,. It’s also time to tackle the greater problem, Australia’s dirty little secret of kangaroo slaughter, which is the largest slaughter of land based wildlife in the WORLD! Not a record any country should be proud of…. and let’s face it. Australia’s greatest GDP Is tourism… when you think of visiting Australia, what are some of the first things you think of seeing or want to see?
    Yeah, me too!! Let’s get these manufactures to stop using this despicably acquired material and end the commercial need for such…. the pet food industry is another culprit in the use of slaughtered kangaroo products, along with companies that use their paws and testicle sacs for souvenir trinkets.

  4. Wow disgusting I nor my family will ever buy your products again shame on you money money money who care who or what they have to hurt or kill to get more money root of all evil

  5. One thing to consider when looking for the best leather conditioner for jackets is the type of coat you wear. There are two different types of leather – top grain and full grain. If your jacket has a lot of natural oils in it, you should try a moisturizing cream or lotion that will not change the natural oils in the leather but instead will help them to soak up the moisture more slowly.

  6. Great! An American citing his opinion on an Australian issue. More concerned with the ‘rights’ of animals rather than their welfare. Shame he doesn’t feel the same about his fellow human beings….. especially the ones claiming sexual harassment.

    Just because it says it’s news doesn’t make it so. Can’t believe everything you read peeps.

  7. If you people go and take a look at the real picture you will find that stopping the use of kangaroo meat and leather will only subject the kangaroos to illegal culling and slaughter of millions of kangaroos and they will be wasted by being left to rot where they fall ,You think im telling lies ,come and Ill show you.
    Kangaroo harvesting is run under strict regulation,the animals must be head shot and only males are to be taken,this in turn is allowing an explosion of females these too will eventually be culled and wasted as there are millions of them wiping out food crops and pasture for stock ,had the females been kept an acceptable level there would not be an issue.

  8. Ok so remeber how wolves were reintroduced into yellow stone park it was a good thing. As predation of deer kept their numbers low enough for plants to survive and it was great for the biodiversity of the park.
    Kangaroos only natural predator is humans. Aboriginals have hunted them for tens of thousands of years. when white settlers came and almost totally wiped out the Aboriginals the roos lost their predator. Hunting them is nessesary to keep their number from exploding and them from eating their habitat dry. So would you rather a roo get shot in the head or starve to death.

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