Press Release

Adidas CEO Calls Commercial Kangaroo Hunt ‘Terrible,’ Implying Corporate Reform on Sourcing of Skins for Soccer Cleats

Comments come in response to concerned shareholders who explained inhumane, continued use of kangaroo skins in shoes

Fürth, Germany — Animal wellness groups were encouraged by comments from Adidas CEO Björn Gulden who last week acknowledged that the commercial industry of killing kangaroos to make shoes is “terrible.” The top executive added, “We will certainly, maybe, switch faster than you think,” suggesting that the company will finally end purchasing kangaroo skins from Australia.

Jennifer Skiff, director of the Kangaroos Are Not Shoes Campaign at the Center for a Humane Economy based in Washington, D.C. has been actively engaging with Adidas executives and reacted with this statement:

“Adidas’s CEO has publicly acknowledged the mass shooting of kangaroos in Australia is cruel and implied that the company may stop purchasing skins from kangaroos shot in the wild,” Skiff said. “We encourage him to make that announcement soon, since the worldwide animal welfare community is deeply concerned that Adidas is an outlier on this issue and its sourcing of skins violates its publicly stated policies about the humane treatment of animals. 

Skiff added that the Center for a Humane Economy is skeptical of the company’s pledges in this regard. In 2012, Adidas pledged to end its role in the kangaroo-skin trade but then reneged,” Skiff noted.

The news follows the disruption of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Adidas in Fürth, Germany, where animal advocates criticized the global shoe giant as the No. 1 commercial driver of the long-running kangaroo massacres in Australia. A video created by Animal Rebellion of the disruption along with questions from shareholders and comments by CEO Gulden is available for viewing by clicking here.

About this photo: In this still from a video taken at the recent protest at the Adidas shareholders meetings, CEO Björn Gulden hints the company may soon abandon its use of kangaroo skin to make soccer shoes.

“Adidas must divorce itself from the world’s largest slaughter of land mammals for a product nobody needs and that its competitors have already shunned,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy. “The only reason the commercial shooting of kangaroos and the orphaning of their joeys occurs is because non-Australian companies like Adidas buy up the skins. End the purchase of the skins and the commercial kill collapses.”

German activist Karola Mang, a member of Animal Rebellion, organized the disruption and confronted Gulden during his remarks to shareholders.

“At first, I didn’t realize how terrible the hunt is. I was very moved by the suffering of the joeys that lose their mothers and suffer and die in agony,” Mang said. “When I found out Adidas was the last major company to support this and was using flimsy excuses to justify their participation, I realized I had to do something against it.”

With Adidas Facing Charges of Complicity with Animal Cruelty, the Athletic Wear Giant Must Stop Sourcing Skins to Shed This Reputational Risk

Last year, Nike, New Balance, and the Germany-based Puma all announced policies to end their role in the commercial skin trade.

Last week, even as Gulden admitted the hunt is “terrible,” he added that the skins are a byproduct of a government cull.

“Gulden’s claim is demonstrably false and groundless,” Pacelle said. “The killing is done precisely because of foreign demand for the skins, and nobody is bigger than the global athletic shoe companies that make the uppers in their soccer cleats from kangaroo skins.”

The corporate pledges by athletic wear companies to stop sourcing kangaroo skins came largely due to the efforts of the Kangaroos Are Not Shoes campaign, initiated in 2020 by the Center for a Humane Economy. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the inhumane commercial kangaroo industry, the largest commercial kill of terrestrial wildlife globally. An estimated 1 million adult kangaroos and 300,000 joeys suffer annually due to this industry. Those numbers are down by several hundred thousand since the Center for a Humane Economy launched its campaign and are expected to drop further as major athletic shoe makers put their no-kangaroo-skin policies into practice in 2024. 

Interested parties can learn more about the issue by going to

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News