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May 27, 2004

For Immediate Release

For more information: lauren Ornelas 530/759-8482

California Lawmaker and German Company Push for Kangaroo Sales as
Their Numbers Plummet in Australia

Davis, CA…Assembly Bill 2915, authored by Assembly Member Marco Firebaugh,  passed the Assembly Floor yesterday. This bill specifically targets kangaroos by removing them from the protection of a California penal code statute that currently prohibits the sale of products derived from various exotic animals, including kangaroos.  The bill now goes to the Senate.

This bill passed through the Assembly at a time when newspapers in Australia are reporting that the number of kangaroo is at an all time low.  (Articles available upon request). There is also a lawsuit pending in Australia that has revealed a gross lack of oversight of kangaroo slaughter.

“It is a shame to see that not only can wildlife be bought and sold in California for unnecessary items, perhaps legislative votes can be too,” said lauren Ornelas, US Campaigns Director Viva!USA. “To have a German company like Adidas testify at a hearing in California with the sole intent of changing our laws and degrading our reputation as a state that cares about animals so they can make a buck, is disturbing.”

Adidas uses the skins of Red Kangaroo to make its soccer cleats. The Red Kangaroo, is being killed at a rate 3 times faster than its reproduction rate.  Some other species of kangaroo, not including Red Kangaroo, will remain protected under federal law.  But because kangaroo hunts take place at night, it is very difficult for shooters to distinguish between protected and unprotected species (even if they want to).  If  AB2915 passes the Senate  and the sale of kangaroo skin is legalized in California, it is likely that  skins of kangaroos who are both endangered and protected would be imported into the State.

"The Australian government allows the bludgeoning of baby kangaroos after they have been torn from their mother’s pouches -- just to make shoes," said Ornelas.” Now it looks like Californians approve of this!”

“This law had provided Californians with a way to speak out against the kangaroo massacre. Kangaroos are wildlife, not shoes, said Ornelas.  Adidas needs to get in step with the times and use synthetic materials for all their shoes.”

The bill now moves to the Senate.