Monday, July 23, 2007

Adidas Uses Kangaroo Skin for Soccer Shoes: As a Result, California Decides that Adidas Cannot Sell Soccer Shoes Made from Slaughtered Kangaroos

Incredible action that hopefully will lead to a national ban. Sick that Adidas uses the skin of slaughtered kangaroos.


State Supreme Court nixes sales of shoes made with kangaroo hide

Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, July 23, 2007

(07-23) 11:56 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Sportswear giant Adidas cannot sell popular soccer shoes fashioned from kangaroo hide in California despite the company's contention that federal law preempts a state ban on products made from the marsupials, the Supreme Court of California ruled today in a unanimous decision.

The ruling could have a major impact on the state's soccer retailers and players. Australian kangaroo skin, beloved by many players for its softness, has long been used in a variety of higher-priced shoes made by a number of brands -- including Adidas' famous Copa Mundial cleats.

The justices ruled in favor of an animal-rights group, Viva International Voice for Animals, a British nonprofit with its U.S. office in Davis. The group challenged Adidas in 2003, arguing that the California ban was valid because states have the power to enact stronger protections for wildlife than the federal government.

The state prohibited the import and commercial sale of kangaroo products in 1971, a year after banning products made from 23 other animals.

But a San Francisco Superior Court judge and the state Court of Appeal in San Francisco said the law conflicted with federal policy that resumed imports of kangaroo-skin products after Australia implemented a conservation program. The Supreme Court today reversed the appellate decision.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned imports of products made from three kangaroo species in 1974 after their population had dwindled in Australia. The agency allowed those imports to resume in 1995. Adidas now sells athletic shoes in California made from the hides of the red kangaroo, the eastern grey kangaroo and the western grey kangaroo.

Animal rights groups remain in a tense battle with soccer teams and retailers over the controversial leather. The California Senate voted in May to legalize the import and sale of kangaroo skins unless a particular species is considered endangered. The bill is now in the Assembly.

The Supreme Court said today that the kangaroo case was analogous to another high-profile court battle pitting Napa vintners against the maker of popular Two Buck Chuck wines. The court in that case said wine bottles labeled with the "Napa" name must be filled primarily with the juice of Napa-grown grapes, as state law mandated. Federal rules had an exception for brands established before 1986.

The case is Viva International vs. Adidas, S140064. The opinion is available at

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