- Last week a bipartisan group of six congresspeople introduced the Kangaroo Protection Act, H.R. 4995, which is aimed at banning the sale of kangaroo skin in commercial products in the U.S.
- Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced the legislation, which would establish federal penalties for commercial activities related to kangaroos. A previous version of the bill, H.R.917, also called the Kangaroo Protection Act of 2021, died in committee.
- In March, Puma introduced a kangaroo-free version of its King soccer cleat, and Nike soon followed suit, stating that it would stop using kangaroo leather in its Tiempo soccer cleat. Both companies have said they plan to discontinue the use of kangaroo skin in their supply chains by the end of 2023, according to a release from the Center for a Humane Economy about the new legislation.
Adidas, Mizuno and New Balance continue to use kangaroo skins in their shoes, and brands including L.L. Bean and Lucchese still use kangaroo in other products in their lines, according to the Center.
However, the number of brands continuing this practice are shrinking, Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy, said in a phone call.
“When we first did the analysis, we found 72 shoe models that were used using kangaroo skins for the uppers on the soccer cleats,” Pacelle said. “And now it’s maybe down to like 15 or so. I mean, the numbers really shrunk, and I think we’re really close to getting New Balance. We don’t get a real readout yet on Adidas, but you know, our team thinks that Adidas may be done in one shoe model. But it’s a little difficult to gauge.”
Pacelle added that soccer cleats aren’t the only products using kangaroo parts, but his focus on the sport was calculated.
“There are some other companies that have handbags or boots or gloves made from kangaroos,” he said. “One reason that we focused on the cleats is that soccer is the biggest sport in the world.”
A recent estimate from Euromonitor suggested that viewership of the Women’s World Cup 2023, which started July 20 and runs through August 20, could top 2 billion. This year’s event is hosted by Australia and New Zealand, and the Center stated in its release that “few, if any, players in the Women’s World Cup are wearing shoes made from the skins of kangaroos.”
This current bill is supported by Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Jefferson Van Drew, Nanette Barragán, Thomas Kean Jr. and Troy Carter.
“Over two million kangaroos are killed for commercial purposes each year. As a staunch animal rights advocate, I believe we owe it to these majestic creatures to protect their welfare,” Schakowsky said in a statement sent to Fashion Dive about the bill. “I am proud to lead the bipartisan Kangaroo Protection Act, which will make it illegal to exploit kangaroos in the United States and impose penalties for violations.”
The Center said in its release that a companion bill in the U.S. Senate could be introduced soon.
Should this legislation pass, Pacelle said he plans to continue working on other animal welfare issues.
“I don’t have an objective in mind,” he said. “But beyond this, when it comes to the wild animal skin trade, we have no shortage of other things that we want to do.” Pacelle cited other activist initiatives, such as the PETA push to ban crocodile bags at Hermès. “There are other animal groups focused on other parts of the trade,” he added. “Whether we get involved remains to be seen. We want to, and we’ve got a lot more work to do.”