Press Release

Nike remains silent as lawmakers throughout the U.S. and other nations seek prohibitions on trade in wild kangaroo skins for shoes

Leaders of New Jersey Senate introduce legislation to ban sale of kangaroo parts, while animal welfare groups in EU promote parallel legislation to federal Kangaroo Protection Act

Washington, D.C. – Nike has not made any public declarations about its use of kangaroo skins in some athletic shoe models, despite mounting pressure on the company to cleanse its supply chain of these wildlife parts, according to the Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action.

Yesterday, New Jersey Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr., R-21st, and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-37th, introduced S3774, the Kangaroo Protection Act, to block the sale of kangaroo-sourced products such as high-end kangaroo leather soccer shoes, or cleats.  An Assembly bill will soon follow. These bills are modeled after the federal Kangaroo Protection Act, led by U.S. Representatives Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., and Brian Fitzpatrick, D-Pa., to ban any interstate sales of kangaroo parts.

Meanwhile, the Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action – architects of the Kangaroos Are Not Shoes campaign — last week launched a campaign in Europe with 14 major European-based organizations to promote an EU-wide ban on kangaroo parts.  The organizations are each promoting a 60-second film showing, in reverse chronology, how a kangaroo ends up becoming part of a shoe in a soccer match. Hollywood filmmakers Gavin Polone and Derek Ambrosi created the original short film, and it has been edited for audiences throughout Europe, with versions in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. View a version of the video here.

The Center has also been working methodically, going store to store and enlisting the law enforcement arm of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, to assure that California’s ban on the ban on sales of any kangaroo products is enforced and so-called “K-leather” cleats are not available to 40 million consumers.

In Australia, the state of New South Wales has launched the first-ever independent inquiry into the kangaroo killing industry, and the Center and Animal Wellness Action (AWA) have submitted detailed comments about the effects of the slaughter on kangaroo populations.

“No other consumer product comes from such a massive, ruthless and merciless slaughter of native wildlife,” added Wayne Pacelle, president of both the Center and AWA. “Until Nike announces that it will stop sourcing kangaroo skins for its athletic shoes, there will be growing efforts by lawmakers and consumers to shut down the trade.”

New billboards, placed this week by the Center for a Humane Economy in the Portland metro area, display a kangaroo looking at the viewer with the words “Nike profits. Kangaroos die.” One posting is in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood (map),  another in the Northwest District (map). Earlier this year similar billboards appeared near Nike headquarters in Beaverton.

 The organization wrote again this week Nike CEO John Donahoe urging a change in policy (letter here.)

A letter to Donahoe posted to the Center’s website, demanding an end to Nike’s role in killing kangaroos, was also passed along to Nike today, including a 192-page attachment listing the names and cities of 62,075 signatories. The petition can be found here.

“Australians who love our national icon are gratified that this global discussion over the kangaroo slaughter is taking place,” said, Mark Pearson, a Member of New South Wales Parliament. “But we’d like to hear directly from Nike CEO John Donahoe about his plans for continuing or curtailing Nike’s role in this cruel industry.” Diadora, the fourth largest soccer equipment provider in the U.S., stopped using kangaroo skin last year.

While the impact of its procurement policies is devastating to kangaroos, only a limited number of Nike’s shoes are made from kangaroos. The vast majority are free of any animal products. Nike is a leader in using modern-technology synthetics and high-performance knits and mesh, often made with polyester from a recycled plastic bottle, for its soccer cleats.

“Shooting wild kangaroos for soccer cleats is a relic from the 1960s. We urge Nike to take the lead in making shoes from ethically sourced products which is clearly the next frontier,” says Olympic medalist Dotsie Bausch, who leads a contingent of elite athletes who have also written Donahoe asking him to halt the use of kangaroo skin. That letter is here.

For details, go to the “Kangaroos Are Not Shoes” campaign page here.

The Center for a Humane Economy (“the Center”) is a non-profit organization that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both.

Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.