Germany-based sportwear company can help turn things around by joining
competitors in abandoning wildlife slaughter for its products.
(Washington, D.C.) – The Center for a Humane Economy called on Adidas—the only remaining athletic shoe seller among the top five global brands to source wildlife skins for soccer cleats—to select an advocate of wildlife protection for its president of North American operations.
On Tuesday, Adidas announced it will replace Rupert Campbell, who has served in that role since August 2021, at the end of the month.
“Adidas has long been the biggest apologist and end-user of kangaroo skins for soccer cleats in the world,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action. “It now stands alone among the biggest athletic shoe brands in financing the slaughter of kangaroos, including the mass orphaning of joeys.”
Pacelle recently wrote a column about the intransigence of Adidas when it comes to paying for the massacre of kangaroos to make soccer cleats—a product easily and more popularly made with synthetic materials.
In an era where the adoption of corporate responsibility principles is as central to business operations as having a human resources or accounting staff, Adidas has posted high-minded rhetoric on its website about sustainability and even dabbled with animal welfare commitments. “Sport is about the constant pursuit of better,” reads a company mantra. “Material innovation is no different.”
But could anything ring more hollow when the company is tied to a trade that snuffs out 1.3 million animals a year? Is that the “pursuit of better”? Remember this is a global brand that rewards itself with virtue points for “sustainable” practices while ignoring rank and unmistakable cruelty that it abets every day of the week.
“There is nothing humane or acceptable about the commercial killing of Australia’s kangaroos,” said Jennifer Skiff, director of the Kangaroos Are Not Shoes campaign for the Center for a Humane Economy. “The orphaning of 300,000 joeys after their lactating mothers are slain in night-time shoots is scandalous and entirely indefensible.”
The Center for a Humane Economy launched its Kangaroos Are Not Shoes campaign in 2020. Since then, four of the five biggest global athletic-shoe brands have pledged to stop sourcing kangaroo skins for athletic shoes: New Balance and Nike, based in the United States; Puma, headquartered in Germany; and Diadora, located in Italy.
Protests against Adidas have sprung up in the United States, Australia, and now Germany. Advocates have promised to expand those protests. In the United States, advocacy group Their Turn also conducted a series of protests at Nike flagship stores before that company modernized their sourcing policy.
“Adidas needs a North American leader attuned to animal welfare,” Pacelle said. “There will be lasting damage to the global brand if it does not exit the wildlife-skins trade.”