International brands NIKE and PUMA have successively announced that they will abandon the use of kangaroo leather to make sporting goods.

Information photo.

(European News Agency)

[Instant News/Comprehensive Report] International brands NIKE and PUMA have announced that they will give up using kangaroo leather to make sporting goods.

The kangaroo can be said to be a symbol of Australia, frequently appearing in the national emblem and airline logos, but the Australian government allows professional hunters to cull millions of kangaroos every year.

According to "CNN" report on March 25, major sporting goods manufacturers NIKE and PUMA have announced this month that they will phase out kangaroo leather (k-leather) and replace it with synthetic leather.

For decades, kangaroo leather has been the first choice of manufacturers of high-end football cleats due to its combination of suppleness and durability.

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Animal rights issues were not mentioned in either company's press release, but Animal Rights Australia claimed it was a major victory after years of lobbying work.

"It's a great day for kangaroos," said Mick McIntyre, head of the kangaroo conservation organization "Kangaroos Alive".

The organization is dedicated to lobbying the European Union and the United States to ban the import of kangaroo products.

Conservationists have campaigned for years for kangaroos against what they see as "cruel and commercially motivated atrocities".

They said in interviews that they would not give up on persuading the government and companies to stop hunting kangaroos. "We hope other brands will follow NIKE's example, because compliance with ethical standards is already a market advantage."

However, the anti-kangaroo product movement is not welcomed by all walks of life in Australia. Government officials and wildlife experts believe that it is necessary to kill kangaroos.

A legal, regulated culling operation aimed at controlling kangaroo populations, preventing ecological imbalances and protecting other native species from starvation during times of drought.

Jim Radford, an expert in landscape ecology and conservation biology at La Trobe University, believes that even if kangaroo-related industries are banned, "kangaroos will still be shot, I promise you."

Landowners will continue to shoot kangaroos because they are overpopulated and are expected to create a more adverse animal rights crisis than the current regulated, controlled culling, Radford said.

In addition, Radford emphasized that the "kangaroo birth control program" is not a feasible solution in terms of the vast territory of Australia, not only because of the high cost, but also because of the staggering number of kangaroos, the effect is not significant.

Radford even said that eating more kangaroos will bring many benefits to Australia. "From Australia's point of view, if kangaroos are used instead of cattle, both land development and environmental conservation will benefit, and the ecological situation is expected to improve."

According to Australia's current laws, licensed hunters can legally hunt kangaroos, kangaroo meat and leather products, and export them to more than 70 countries, with an annual business opportunity of 200 million Australian dollars (approximately NT$4 billion).

Hunting and killing activities are mostly carried out at night. Hunters first irradiate kangaroos with strong light to temporarily blind them, and then shoot them.

The Australian government said a few days ago that NIKE and PUMA's refusal to use kangaroo leather has little impact, because the meat trade is the main source of income for the kangaroo industry.