Two animal welfare advocacy groups filed a second lawsuit Wednesday hoping to compel compliance with state law barring the sale of kangaroo parts, this time targeting a sportswear retailer the plaintiffs say is selling kangaroo-sourced soccer cleats.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was filed against Soccer Shop USA after investigators from Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy allegedly discovered several models of soccer cleats made from kangaroo leather for sale at the retail chain’s three Los Angeles-area retail outlets.
A similar action was brought in June in Riverside Superior Court against Soccer Wearhouse, also a Southern California retailer, for allegedly engaging in the same sales practices.
A Soccer Shop USA representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The state Penal Code Section prohibits the sale of the body parts of a number of animals, including kangaroos, but the animal welfare group alleges that the law is being disregarded by athletic-wear retailers throughout the state.
Many retailers, including both Soccer Wearhouse and Soccer Shop USA, have offered soccer cleats in their stores and online made from the skins of kangaroos from companies such as Puma, Nike and Adidas, the suit states.
“We asked several times for state officials, including the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Attorney General’s Office, as well as local prosecutors, to take official enforcement action to end these illegal sales,” said Kate Schultz, senior attorney for the Center for a Human Economy. “To date, they’ve declined to do so, leaving it to us to compel enforcement of the law in light of these clear and open violations.”
Synthetic soccer cleats are readily available and easily rival or outperform those made from the skins of kangaroos, according to Animal Wellness Action founder Wayne Pacelle, former president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
“A decade ago, Nike promised to do away with its kangaroo-sourced products, but it has reneged on that explicit pledge,” Pacelle said. “Today, in the wake of cataclysmic fires that left billions of Australian animals dead, the mass killing of kangaroos in their native habitats continues to supply major athletic shoe retailers who can easily use an alternative fabric for all of their offerings.”