Sunday 19 March 2023

Like me, Nike, finds the shooting of 2 million wild kangaroos every year for leather products unacceptable

NEWS AND OPINION - USA AND AUSTRALIA: Like me, Nike, find the killing of 2 million kangaroos every year objectionable and they are doing something about it. They've announced that at the end of 2023 they will no longer be using kangaroo leather in any of their products. Note: this is a cross-post as it is very important in animal welfare.

Perhaps the best-known product in which they use kangaroo leather (K-leather) is football boots. The uppers are often made of kangaroo leather because it is flexible, durable and more functional. As I understand it, many professional footballers have kangaroo leather football boots.

The problem is the source of the leather. We are looking at about the shooting of 2 million kangaroos by shooters employed by harvesters and professional marksmen sometimes at night for their meat and leather.

I have a deep sense of unease about this. I think a lot of the shooters don't just do it for the meat and leather i.e. the commercial interest, but because they enjoy shooting animals.

There must be a better and more humane way of stabilising the kangaroo population in Australia. The argument that the shooters and commercial enterprises spout is that if they don't shoot them like this in large numbers they will starve to death if there is a drought. 

But they don't want, it seems to me, to comment on the morality and ethics of their enterprise and whether there is a more humane way of stabilising the population.

Nike is following in the footsteps of other top brands such as their German rival Puma and an Italian brand, Diadora. The luxury fashion houses including Gucci, Prada and Chanel have also stopped using kangaroo leather. As has the British label, Paul Smith.

Victoria Beckham has also spurned kangaroo leather and I'm told by The Sunday Times that her husband, David Beckham, stopped using kangaroo leather football boots (Adidas Predators) while he was the England captain.

In America, California has a statewide ban on kangaroo products. Oregon's legislature is debating a statewide ban. Nike has their headquarters in Oregon by the way.

Let's remember that when they harvest (a highly objectionable word in my opinion when it relates to sentient creatures) kangaroos it means shooting wild kangaroos. They are not farmed and driven to slaughterhouses to be killed as humanely as possible but they're simply shot by marksmen as mentioned. This must result in untold suffering.

It's impossible to envisage kangaroos being shot cleanly every time. Many hundreds of thousands of them must've been shot badly and died of their injuries slowly. This is clearly inhumane. It is clearly objectionable and it surprises me that it has continued for so long.

Apparently, Nike's change of mind has been brought about by a very long campaign by the Centre for a Humane Economy which was supported by celebrities such as Ricky Gervais's and Woody Harelson (see video above).

For me, this is great news. There may be a federal ban in the US one day because there is an attempt to push through the Kangaroo Protection Act which if passed would create a nationwide ban in America for kangaroo products.

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