Law makers in the U.S state of California are looking at overturning the ban on the sale of kangaroo leather, providing a major boost for american soccer players, allowing them to purchase football boots, made from the material.
A ban on the importation and sale of kangaroo leather has been in place in California since 1970, and the sale of k-leather football boots in the state can be punishable by a six month spell in prison. But currently a debate is raging on the sale of kangaroo products, which feature widely in many football boots.
Jackie Cruz, a 20 year old semi-pro soccer player in San Francisco, adores her k-leather football boots. “I definitely do love the kangaroo leather,” said Cruz, touching the glove-soft kangaroo leather on a Nike Air Legend at a sports store here. “When I wear them, it feels like it’s my own foot. I have more ball control.”
The California ban on the sale of kangaroo skins, meat and other products began when animal rights groups launched an emotional campaign depicting the killing of kangaroos and their baby joeys in Australia.
According to the Australian government, however, the population of red, eastern grey and western grey kangaroos has rebounded significantly and in 2005 stood at 25 million, with many people in Australia considering the kangaroos’ large population a nuisance.
A spokeswoman for Adidas America, who attempted to have the ban lifted in 2005 to allow the sale of products of non endangered kangaroo species, stated that “less than 1 percent of its U.S. footwear sales involve kangaroo leather.”
Kangaroo skin is worn by many footballers throughout the world, one of the most instantly recognisable having been England international David Beckham. After a multiyear campaign by Viva! Vegetarian International Voice for Animals to get the LA Galaxy player to stop wearing kangaroo leather Adidas Predators, Beckham now wears a synthetic version of the Adidas Predator Absolute Globe.
This may have been a small victory for animal-rights activists, however the ban against selling kangaroo leather football boots in California appears to have been poorly enforced for decades. At the Soccer Post, an equipment store in Alameda, owner Tom Matson said he sells more Adidas Copa Mundial kangaroo leather football boots for adults than all his other adult football boots combined. He said the move to keep the ban on kangaroo leather had more to do with the emotional appeal of kangaroos.