Herzogenaurach, 5 February 2003 - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals, an animal rights group based in Britain, has asked adidas-Salomon to stop using kangaroo leather in the manufacture of its soccer boots, claiming that the killing of kangaroos is “cruel and barbaric” and that it will lead to the “extinction” of these animals.
adidas-Salomon has a policy of openness and engagement with our many stakeholders. We listen to all views. We have therefore studied Viva!’s concerns very closely since Viva! started its campaign in August 2002.
As a company, adidas-Salomon is committed to sustainable business practices and we apply these to the selection of the materials used in our products. We also believe that if future generations are to inherit a world rich in ecological diversity, it is important for everyone in society to help conserve and protect wildlife. Consequently, the company does not source leather from any endangered or threatened species. Nor do we accept the use of leathers in our products which have involved the inhumane treatment of animals, whether these animals are wild or domesticated, i.e. farmed.
All kangaroos, except for those in zoos or wildlife parks, are free ranging wild animals. While it is impossible to determine the exact number of kangaroos in Australia, the population of the four most common species - those which are harvested - has been estimated by the Australian Government to be more than 50 million. None of the common species of kangaroo that are harvested are considered endangered animals.
To have a better understanding of the issues raised by Viva!, we have met the companies which supply kangaroo leather to our footwear manufacturers and have examined current industry practices. We have also met with their parent body, the Kangaroo Leather Association of Australia, and with representatives of Environment Australia, the Government agency that regulates the harvesting of kangaroos.
The Australian Government has strict rules for those involved in kangaroo culling. The Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos, developed by all wildlife agencies in Australia, clearly defines the species that can be commercially harvested, sets out an achievable standard of humane conduct and is the minimum requirement for people who harvest kangaroos. As part of its wildlife management program the Australian Government is reviewing its Code of Practice on an ongoing basis.
Based on previous meetings and the current information supplied to us, we have concluded that Viva! is misinformed and that their claims are misleading. We trust the Australian Government's assurances and expertise in this matter.