The result of a lawsuit brought by an animals rights group against athletic shoe maker Adidas, has been the confirmation by the California Supreme Court of a state law that bans the use of kangaroo hide for shoe manufacture. Kangaroo leather is apparently favored by soccer players for their shoes.

Australians are puzzled by this. Kangaroo populations vary between 15 and 50 million, largely dependent on climate and rainfall variance’ and aren’t in any danger. There is a regular cull to keep them from overeating their range:

“Kangaroos are like rabbits in Australia,” said Kalee StClair, who is from Sydney and has lived here {California} for more than four years. “They’re not protected at all, and it’s actually encouraged to kill them.

“I guess they are really cute. And California is a sucker for a cute animal. Look at how people dress their dogs here.”

The law dates to 1971, when a number of kangaroo species were endangered. The Australian consul is lobbying the legislature in Sacramento to repeal the law.

This shows up in the news just as estimable scientist and author Tim Flannery releases what looks like a very interesting book on kangaroos: Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Creature.

6 thoughts on “‘Roos”

  1. The Flannery book is reviewed in the Arts section of the very same paper this story appeared in! (Yesterday’s NY Times – still on-line.). In the food section, same paper, same date, there appears an essay about farm animals (with portrait quality photos) retired to a ‘farm sanctuary.’

    It’s not a wonder some day finishing a sentence is sometimes veritably impossible.

  2. I hunted kangaroos in Queensland, and it is difficult to convey just how many of them are hopping across the landscape. They were constantly in sight.

    I have friends who have visited Australia who had a hard time seeing kangaroos. But that’s because they were on main roads and looking in the middle of the day.

    Keeping “hunting hours”, staying at a sheep shearers’ shack in the absolute middle of nowhere, and walking, roos were a constant presence.

    It’s safe to say I am the only guy on the block with a mounted kangaroo.

    It also gets “interesting” reactions from friends and guests with various viewpoints on taxidermy. 🙂


  3. NPR’s All Things Considered covered this story yesterday (audio at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12234107).

    According to NPR, not only California but also New York has outlawed kangaroo products. This was news to me; I work for a sporting-goods supplier, and while we cannot send kangaroo boots to customers in California (much to the consternation of Cali bird hunters), I’ve encountered no such restrictions with New York addresses. Possibly the New York ban is less comprehensive, or perhaps it has been overturned.

    Australia’s own wildlife policies are…interesting…to say the least. Farmers there shoot galahs (pink cockatoos) and other parrots, legally as I understand, in great numbers for their depredations on orchards. But the capture and export of those same birds, which would be highly valued by aviculturalists, has been banned for decades. Also, Australia with its abundant wildlife populations and wide-open countryside would be a falconer’s paradise…except for the fact that falconry is illegal there. Why? No bloody idea… But if the Australian government not only permits but actually lobbies for the export of kangaroo hides, you can be sure that ‘roo populations are in no trouble.

    In California’s ban, we see yet another example of legislation through emotion rather than reason.


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