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For Immediate Release June 29, 2006

Animal Campaigners Claim Victory As CA Anti-Wildlife Bill is Defeated

Animal protection organization Viva! is celebrating the defeat of a bill which would have removed the legal protection afforded to kangaroos by the state of California.

Recognizing that, over the years, many wild animals have been driven to the brink of extinction through commercial hunting, California has, since 1970, strongly restricted or prohibited the commercial exploitation of certain species from around the globe, by banning the importation and sale of products made from the body parts of certain wild animals, including tigers, polar bears, kangaroos, alligators and crocodiles.

Bill AB 734, introduced by Senator Dymally, proposed that kangaroos be removed from the list unless the particular species fell into the category of ‘endangered’. The law was passed to protect all species, regardless of them being ‘endangered’ or not.

Each year millions of kangaroos are killed to supply the meat and skin industries. Viva! is at the forefront of a global campaign to save kangaroos from extinction, which it believes is likely if the current, annual mass slaughter continues. Already, the red kangaroo is being wiped out faster than it can reproduce. In the US, their skins are used primarily to make soccer cleats, such as the market leader Adidas Predator.
Viva!’s international director, Juliet Gellatley says:The defeat yesterday of a bill that between them would have removed legal protection for kangaroos, alligators and crocodiles, is a great victory for the animals - and the campaigners who have worked tirelessly to protect them. Multinational corporations such as Adidas continue to use kangaroo-skin for sport shoes because of economics, with no regard whatsoever for the animal welfare or environmental implications. Thankfully, the people of California are not so flippant and these long-standing protections have been kept in place.”

Notes to editors:
Viva! has filed a lawsuit against Adidas for illegally selling kangaroo-skin soccer cleats within the state and it will be heard by the California Supreme Court.