US footwear giant Nike has announced that they will no longer use kangaroo leather in their shoes due to rising pressure from wildlife advocacy groups and multiple US States.
The US-based company on Tuesday confirmed its leading Tiempo soccer shoes will now be made with a synthetic material which they said was a “better performance solution” than kangaroo leather.
The leather will also be phased out across all Nike products by the end of the year.
The decision comes as German brand Puma announced similar changes last week, noting the vegan synthetic material was superior.
Animal welfare advocates have welcomed the move, describing the killing of kangaroos as “inhumane slaughter.”
Kangaroos Alive co-founder Mick McIntyre described the news as “a big victory,” and hopes that this is the start of more companies no longer using kangaroo products.
The marsupial’s population in 2022 was estimated at more than 30 million, while a federal quota for culling and harvesting them has been set at four million.
California banned kangaroo products in the 1970s, while other US states Oregon and Connecticut are considering doing so.
Oregon’s ban would make it illegal to buy or sell any product that contains a “part of a dead kangaroo.”
The measure would effect Nike in particular given that the footwear brand is Oregon’s biggest employer.
Federal Nationals Leader David Littleproud has accused the government of failing the kangaroo industry, saying culling the native animals is necessary to manage the population.
“Harvesting actually prevents kangaroos from overgrazing, dehydration and starvation,” he said in a statement.
“The practical reality of import bans in the US would be detrimental to kangaroo populations in Australia.”
Mr Littleproud said Australia’s kangaroo export trade was worth $200 million a year.