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For Immediate Release February 9, 2006

For more information:
Lauren Ornelas 530/759-8482
Orly Degani  818/904-9909

California Attorney General Urges the State Supreme Court to Protect Kangaroos

San Francisco- The California Attorney General, representing the State Department of Fish and Game, has filed a letter urging the California Supreme Court to grant a pending petition to review a recent court of appeal decision that threw out a lawsuit which sought to prevent sport manufacturing giant Adidas from using kangaroo skin in its athletic shoes.

In May, 2003 Davis-based animal advocacy group Viva!USA filed a lawsuit against Adidas for violating California Penal Code section 653o, which prohibits importing into or selling within the State any kangaroo or parts or products of kangaroo. Adidas currently uses kangaroo skin in some of its soccer cleats, including the Adidas Predator, which Adidas sells in California.

"Adidas does not dispute that it is blatantly violating California law; it wants the law to be disregarded," said Orly Degani, the attorney representing Viva!USA in the appeal.  "We are optimistic the Supreme Court will tell Adidas that there is bite behind California's stated desire to protect kangaroo from cruel slaughter, and from being turned into shoes that can just as easily be made from synthetic materials."   

In addition to the Attorney General's letter, The Supreme Court received letters supporting the lawsuit against Adidas from Defenders of Wildlife and the Humane Society of the United States.

"Adidas has been getting away with murder in Australia and California," said lauren Ornelas, US Campaigns Director of Viva!USA. "They have been showing the same disregard for California law that the hunters show the baby kangaroos whom they bludgeon to death."

Each year, hunters are licensed to shoot millions of adult kangaroos for their meat and skins. Baby 'joeys' - worthless to the industry - are ripped from their dead mothers' pouches and bludgeoned, decapitated, or simply abandoned to die of starvation. Australia is currently in the midst of one of the worst droughts on record and bush fires are raging across the country decimating kangaroo numbers; yet the kangaroo industry continues to shoot millions more.
"Kangaroos are wildlife, not shoes. Adidas needs to get in step with the times and use synthetic materials for all their shoes," said Ornelas.

Just this week, British newspapers reported that soccer great David Beckham is no longer using the Adidas kangaroo skinned soccer shoe the Predator.  Instead, he will wear the Adidas Predator made of synthetic materials.

Viva!, an international organization with USA Headquarters in Davis, CA and has a global campaign against Adidas' use of kangaroo skins. For further information on this campaign and to view pictures of kangaroo hunting, go to www.vivausa.org or www.savethekangaroo.com.