Animal advocates are targeting the apparel company Nike for its use of kangaroo skin in its soccer cleats, saying that the practice is cruel and kills millions of the animals each year. On Nike's website, "supple kangaroo and goat leather" shoes can be bought alongside shoes made from synthetic materials.
A petition on Change.org calling on Nike to end the use of kangaroo in its cleats has over 200,000 signatures. Protesters urge Nike to follow in the footsteps of Adidas, which agreed to cut its use of the material by 98 percent, in the wake of pressure from animal rights groups.
The issue has gained public support, too -- in 2006, David Beckham stopped wearing kangaroo leather cleats after being approached by animal advocates.
Animal advocates say that kangaroos are commonly shot for their leather, and many times a joey (a baby kangaroo) is left in a mother's pouch after she dies. These joeys are often cruelly killed, because they offer little use for their leather. Said Juliet Gellatley, founder of Save the Kangaroo: "The slaughter of kangaroos is the world's biggest massacre of terrestrial wildlife, carried out by a country with the world's worst record for species extinction."