Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Adidas Concedes and Reduces Use of Kangaroo Skins

Viva! and AWPC celebrate “Kicking Cruelty Out of Football

Release date: 
Sunday, October 9, 2011

Having cleared UK supermarket shelves of kangaroo meat, UK-based Viva! then turned its attention to kangaroo leather, attacking Adidas for its use in top-of-the-range football boots. Viva! has worked closely with the AWPC (Australian Wildlife Protection Council) and both organisations have issued a guarded joint congratulation to the German giant for its ethical decision to move away from the use of wildlife in its global business. They say the move will save thousands of these animals from being shot and spare their babies from the barbarity of being clubbed to death.

The move was confirmed by a representative from the kangaroo industry in Australia(1)(2) which revealed that Adidas, and other large football boot manufacturers, were reducing its use because of concerns over cruelty and pressure from animal lovers. Viva! and AWPC are reiterating their calls for kangaroo skin to banished entirely from football.

Viva!'s long-running campaign and boycott against Adidas persuaded David Beckham to drop his kangaroo leather boots in 2006(3). AWPC's recent campaign to have products made from kangaroo banned across the EU has attracted mass support and last year, Nike confirmed they were working towards discontinuing the use of kangaroo leather(4). Both campaigns are believed to have prompted the change.

This move by the world's biggest football boot manufacturers will help stop the bloodshed that has plagued Australia's Outback for the past decade. Millions of adult kangaroos are shot each year for their meat and skin and it is estimated that as many as over a million baby kangaroos (joeys) are decapitated, shot or beaten to death every year, then discarded as 'waste'(5). Kangaroo numbers are less than half of what they were a decade ago(6).

Viva!'s founder and director, Juliet Gellatley, launched the 'Save the Kangaroo' in Britain in 1997. She says, “The slaughter of kangaroos is the world's biggest massacre of terrestrial wildlife, carried out by a country with the world's worst record for species extinction. We have harried and opposed the Australian killing industry for more than a decade with considerable success. This latest move away from kangaroo leather is because Viva! has tarnished Adidas' image and therefore their profitability. You can't be a 'little bit' pregnant and you can't be a little bit immoral so we urge Adidas to drop kangaroo completely so the targeted species can begin their recovery in numbers.

Philip Woolley, EU Campaign Director of the AWPC and head of international operations says: “We have been working very hard over the last few years with our partners Viva! to have kangaroo products banned. Following Nike's decision last year to eradicate kangaroo skin from their products, to have received news that Adidas is taking similar action is great news. Our campaign in Europe has been gathering pace. Following Russia's ban on kangaroo products, we now await Europe's decision to act to protect the health of its citizens from infected meat and end the brutal slaughter of innocent baby kangaroos in Australia. We now expect Puma and Umbro, the last remaining sports footwear producers using kangaroo leather, to end the trade in cruelty and congratulate Adidas for their great decision.

Whilst Viva! and AWPC welcome Adidas' move away from kangaroo leather, their long-running boycott will continue until the company commits to banning kangaroo products across its whole range. This boycott is extended to other companies that continue use kangaroo leather in some of their football boots, including Nike, Umbro and Puma. Viva! and AWPC are also calling on consumers to boycott all kangaroo products and all football boot manufacturers to switch to using cruelty-free synthetics.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Images of kangaroos and kangaroo shooting available on request.

(1) AgForce macropod committee spokesman Stephen Tully (quoting a kangaroo shooter) said: "Traditionally shooters had a fallback market of shooting for skins but Mr Newton said that market was no longer viable after major manufacturers such as Adidas moved away from using kangaroo leather in response to public pressure from animal rights activists." http://www.beefcentral.com/news/article/649

(2) Adidas' bestselling Predator football boot has previously always been made out of kangaroo leather. However, none of the current range appears to be. http://www.adidas.com/football/uk/products/predator/

(3) David Beckham kicked off his kangaroo leather boots in 2006 after Viva! sent him graphic footage showing the slaughter of the wild animals: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-479127/Stella-McCartney-milita...

(4) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1288639/WORLD-CUP-2010-John-Terr...

(5) http://m.theage.com.au/environment/animals/kangaroo-industrys-sham-scien...

(6) Current (2010) population estimates put the numbers of kangaroos in Australia at just over 25 million; down by over 32 million on 2001 figure of 57.4 million. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/wildlife-trade/wild-harvest/k...

- Commercial kangaroo harvest quotas for 2011 are 3,730,710. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/wildlife-trade/wild-harvest/k...

- On average 20 per cent of kangaroos killed annually (1.9 million in 2009) it can be estimated that some 20 per cent are females. This means some 440,000 baby kangaroos therefore are killed each year as a result of killing the female. (some 8.2 million baby kangaroos have been killed since 1991).

- Meat is banned from import into Russia (August 2009 to present day) on health reasons due to contaminated shipments.