About 1.5 million kangaroos a year are shot, bludgeoned or left to starve to death or die of their injuries. This occurs because companies like Adidas and New Balance still pay hunters to head into the Australian wilderness to hunt the animals. The hunters make the kills, the kangaroos are skinned, and the skins are made into soccer shoes for affluent customers across the United States and other parts of the world.
That's right. The largest commercial slaughter of terrestrial wildlife is predicated on selling soccer shoes, or cleats, to pros, amateurs and kids who are willing to pay extra merely for the "luxury" of wearing leather from dead kangaroos.
Worse, the slain kangaroos often have joeys in their pouches. The policy for joeys is that they are immediately to be killed, usually by bludgeoning them against the bumper of the hunter's truck. Those who don't meet this fate often escape back into the wild, where they, too, face starvation, dehydration, or being attacked and eaten by other wild animals.
It's a brutal kill for what seems to us to be an absolutely frivolous purpose
The campaign to stop this horror show is called Kangaroos Are Not Shoes, and here to talk about is Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. He'll tell us about progress the campaign has made and what comes next. Also on the show are Emma Hurst and Louise Ward. Hurst is a member of the Australian parliament, representing the Animal Justice Party, and Ward is a state director for it. We had the chance to visit them during a break from their whirlwind visits with U.S. congressmen and senators on Capitol Hill.
Listeners can take action for kangaroos by visiting www.kangaroosarenotshoes.org, where you’ll find links to congressional Action Alerts and a petition for the Don’t Be a Dick’s campaign, which intends to pressure the nation’s largest sporting-goods retailer to stop trafficking in the skins of slaughtered kangaroos.
The Animal Wellness podcast is produced by Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. It focuses on improving the lives of animals in the United States and abroad through legislation and by influencing businesses to create a more humane economy. The show is hosted by veteran journalist and animal-advocate Joseph Grove. Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and Podbean offer subscriptions to the free show.