New bill in Oregon aims to ban ‘unconscionable’ import and sale of kangaroo products being used by Nike and other companies

A bill aiming to ban the sale of kangaroo parts has been proposed by a northern US state, despite Australian researchers previously labelling the move “an own goal”.

The Oregon bill would take aim at sports apparel manufacturers using kangaroo leather to make their products.

Soccer cleats are one of the only products made from kangaroo leather that are routinely sold in Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

The measure would impact Nike, which is based in Oregon and is the state’s largest employer.

“It’s unconscionable that millions of native wild animals in Australia have been killed for the sake of high-end soccer cleats worn by a subset of elite soccer players,” Democratic Oregon Senator Floyd Prozanski, who introduced the bill, said in a news release issued by animal rights groups.

“I understand this legislation may have financial impact on some Oregon shoe manufacturers, but in the balance, Oregon should be standing on the humane side of this issue.

“There are other materials that can be used in making these high-end cleats.”

A similar law was proposed by the United States Congress in 2021, called the “Kangaroo Protection Act”, which would have banned the sale and import of kangaroo products.

It was not approved.

Australian researchers at the time called the bill “one of the most comprehensive own goals in the history of improving kangaroo welfare”.

Australian National University honorary professor George Wilson and University of Adelaide Associate Lecturer John Read said in their 2021 report that weakening the kangaroo industry would “result in more kangaroo suffering, not less”.

“Our research shows the kangaroo industry leads to better kangaroo welfare, more stable populations and improved conservation outcomes,” they wrote.

A mob of kangaroos at Whiteman Park
Quotas for kangaroo harvest are calculated based on the state population. (ABC News: Gian De Poloni)

“If the bill succeeds, it would further suppress global demand for kangaroo products, and allow unregulated, uncontrolled and un-monitored killing by amateur hunters to flourish.”

Oregon’s bill would make it a crime to buy, receive, sell, or commercially exchange “any product containing a part of a dead kangaroo.”

The Center for a Humane Economy, Animal Wellness Action and the Animal Wellness Foundation has welcomed the move.

“It’s time for these shoe manufacturers to evolve their business model to eliminate extreme animal cruelty in their product offerings,” said Rene Tatro, a board member of the Center for a Humane Economy.

Australia’s kangaroo industry

Kangaroo populations can rapidly increase in density across large areas of Australia, according to the RSPCA.

Leave a Comment