Nike joins Puma in ditching kangaroo leather for animal-free alternatives | Totally Vegan Buzz
New one minute film exposes Nike’s role in kangaroo mass slaughter

Top sports brands such as Nike and Puma are ditching premium kangaroo leather; will Adidas follow suit?

Nike has pledged to stop its use of kangaroo leather following pressure from animal rights activists and a crackdown in the United States.

The US sportswear giant’s decision comes just two weeks after German rival Puma confirmed that it was taking kangaroos out of its shoe portfolio.

Nike announced that going forward, its popular Tiempo range will use alternative synthetic fabrics, similarly to Puma, which will incorporate a new synthetic material that offers “a better performance solution and replaces the use of kangaroo leather.”  

Both of these brands are the latest to join a growing community of kangaroo-free leather proponents, including Chanel, Gucci, and Prada.

While top brands are moving away from leather, Adidas, however, remains the last major buyer of the fabric.

‘Seismic event’

Nike’s decision has been welcomed by animal activists, especially Wayne Pacelle, the president of the animal welfare group the Centre for a Humane Economy. He  called the move a “seismic event for wildlife protection”.

The group launched its “Kangaroos Are Not Shoes” campaign in 2020, and has been calling on major brands to stop creating demand for the deaths of more than two million kangaroos each year. It also specifically targeted Nike, by erecting billboards close to its Oregon headquarters in 2021.

“Nike’s announcement that it will end the use of kangaroo skins for its athletic shoes is a seismic event in wildlife protection, and tremors will be felt all over the world. Especially in Australia, where the mass commercial slaughter of kangaroos occurs,” Pacelle said.

“Non-animal-based fabrics are athletically and morally superior. In March, we’ve seen two of the three largest brands in athletic shoes pledge to end their use of kangaroo skins and to bring relief to these iconic marsupials in Australia.”

CHE is now pushing Adidas to follow Nike and Puma’s examples.

Even Kangaroos Alive, an Australian conservation organization, called Nike’s move  a big victory, after lobbying the multinational in a two year campaign.

“The change in material will be seen on Australian sporting fields across the country, from grassroots level to the top AFL and NRL codes, with the manufacturer in a long term partnership with AFL clubs Richmond and Carlton, as well as the official kit supplier of both the Queensland Maroons and NSW Blues State of Origin teams,” it said in a statement.

The kangaroo leather industry takes a stand

Despite growing agreement that commercial kangaroo leather is cruel and unsustainable, the Australian industry claims that banning the practice could harm kangaroos, livelihoods, and ecosystems.

The commercial kangaroo industry is worth more than $200 million to the Australian economy and employs more than 3,000 people. Moreover, commercial culling is legal in the country to maintain a healthy population.

According to the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia (KIAA), the industry is regulated and has set high standards of excellence in animal welfare, sustainability, and food safety.

Ray Borda, president of the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia, told the Guardian that kangaroos (for leather) are a sustainable option.

“They emit less methane, require less water, place less pressure on grazing lands, and don’t require energy to capture and contain [as other livestock].”

 He also noted that kangaroo populations must be maintained at a sustainable level for their survival. Kangaroos compete with other animals for food, which can be a problem if their numbers are not kept in check.

“Without a commercial harvest, kangaroos would still need to be kept at sustainable levels through government and non-commercial culling, resulting in poorer animal welfare outcomes.” Borda said.

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