Press Release

Live Joey Rescued from Decapitated Mother’s Pouch Spurs Center for a Humane Economy to Call for Adidas to Exit Kangaroo-Skin Trade

Athletic wear giant contributes to mass orphaning of kangaroos

Washington, D.C. — The Center for a Humane Economy responded to news this week that a live 6-month-old joey had to be rescued from inside the pouch of its decapitated mother in Queensland, Australia.

Photographs and video of the grisly scene prompted the Center to demand that Germany-based Adidas stop sourcing kangaroo skins from Australia due to the commercial shoot that claims more than 1 million kangaroos each year, including hundreds of thousands of joeys.  

A 6-month-old joey was found alive in the pouch of its decapitated mother, seen here, right. Photo credit: Wildlife Empire
Photo credit: Wildlife Empire

On Monday, a jogger said she heard the joey’s cries, discovered the scene and called Tennille Bankes, founder of Wildlife Empire. Also at the scene were the decapitated remains of a wallaroo and a second kangaroo. 

“This kind of unconscionable inattention to animals and unmistakable cruelty is happening all across Australia to supply an export market for kangaroo skins,” said Jennifer Skiff, director of the Kangaroos Are Not Shoes campaign at the Center for a Humane Economy. “It’s not ethical, it’s not humane, and it is plainly at odds with Adidas’s corporate pledges.”

The sourcing of kangaroo skin by multinational sportswear corporations has been driving the kill. Last year, Nike, Puma, and New Balance announced an end to using kangaroo parts in their shoes. Sokito followed in April 2024. But Adidas is the outlier, continuing to source skins for a set of soccer cleats. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and kangaroo skins for even a few models of shoes result in immense suffering on the ground for kangaroos of Australia.

Adidas Non-Committal

On May 16, Adidas CEO Björn Gulden spoke to shareholders hinting that Adidas would stop using kangaroo leather, saying, “We will certainly, maybe, switch faster than you think.” And while Gulden has acknowledged that he’s seen images from the hunt and thinks it’s “terrible,” Adidas continues to participate in the cruelty.

Adidas’ standards on animal-derived materials in its products states that it abides by principles that any animal killed for its products will not experience:

  • hunger, malnutrition and thirst
  • fear and distress
  • physical discomfort
  • pain, or injury

“What part of cruelty to kangaroos does Adidas’ CEO not understand?” asked Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action. “It doesn’t take a degree in animal science to understand that an orphaned, wailing baby left for dead in the pouch of her slain mother is demonstrably inhumane. If your company has alternative fabrics that work beautifully for soccer players, why wouldn’t you opt for that alternative?”

The graphic and disturbing video documentation by Wildlife Empire can be seen here.

The 6-month-old joey found alive in the pouch of its decapitated mother. Photo credit: Wildlife EmpireThe 6-month-old joey found alive in the pouch of its decapitated mother. Photo credit: Wildlife Empire

Bankes named the 6-month-old joey “Lucky” and reported to the Center that 48 hours after being rescued, the young roo was still crying for her mother.

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