Pressure group Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (Viva) is planning a controversial advertising campaign against the use of kangaroo leather in the manufacture of sports shoes by brands such as Adidas and Umbro.
Viva claims the demand for kangaroo leather by sports brands is fuelling the inhumane killing of kangaroos. But the sports brands say that the kangaroos are killed as part of legal culls.
The campaign, due to break in the summer, will include advertisements and inserts in national magazines, such as BBC Wildlife, Marie Claire and Time Out, and a direct mail campaign.
The group hopes to extend the campaign to include outdoor advertising, provided it can win support from sympathetic media owners and buyers.
The ad campaign follows protests held by Viva on February 5 and February 8 against the use of kangaroo skins to make football boots such as the Adidas Predator, worn by David Beckham, and Umbro XAI. The group met Adidas at its German headquarters last week.
The Australian government sets a quota for the number of kangaroos that can be culled to control the population and to protect its farming industry. In 2001, the quota allowed the culling of 5.5 million kangaroos.
Adidas, which Viva singles out as “a major driving force behind the industry”, and Umbro say that they are opposed to kangaroos being killed in an inhumane way and that their suppliers fully comply with the Australian government’s rules on kangaroo culling.
Viva is running a similar campaign in Poland against live horse exports. All of the media space for the campaign has been donated by agencies sympathetic to the pressure group’s cause.