Connecticut Assemblyman David Michel seeks ban on products made from kangaroos
GREENWICH, Conn. - Here's something we don't hear too much about: Products made from kangaroos, like soccer cleats, and even pet food.
A Connecticut assemblyman is hoping New York will join states like California and Oregon in working toward banning the products overall in his state.
What do some soccer cleats and pet foods have in common? They can both be made with kangaroo leather or meat.
"Just like cows, they get literally separated from their babies, and you know, the mothers recognize the joey's voices," Michel said. "I believe that we shouldn't be using animals for business."
Michel proposed the Kangaroo Protection Act, that would ban the sale of dead kangaroos and any products made from dead kangaroos in Connecticut.
Michel, who's also vegan, sites the millions of kangaroos killed a year in Australia to be distributed across the world, including the U.S.
"This is after those huge fires that devastated Australia and killed over a billion wild lives," Michel said.
But, similar to deer - especially in the Tri-State Area - kangaroos are in abundance in Australia.
The Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia, which aims for sustainability and the humane killing of kangaroos in Australia, in a statement said, "We are… highlighting the need for greater awareness around the benefits of managing an overabundant species including increased biodiversity and sustainability… No animal is slain just for the skin to make soccer cleats."
Not many sportswear sites are advertising that they use kangaroo leather, or k-leather, but Nike does. It hasn't returned our request for comment on efforts to ban the leather.
More sportswear brands are being praised for using recycled and vegan materials in their shoes and cleats, but we're hearing from those who use real leather that it's just not the same.
"Nike is smart. I'm sure they could figure something out. Yeah, I guess it'll suck knowing that I won't have that same exact kind of feel, but just got to hope that they find something that works," said Greenwich resident Ray Arruda.
Kangaroo is also considered a novel protein for dogs, meaning it's a better option for those allergic to other, more common meats like beef and chicken.
One Greenwich woman says it's already hard enough to find products to accommodate her dog's allergies.
"We need these products, OK? We have beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit, venison, bison, all of those products are regularly available, so what's the difference?" she said.
Michel hopes his bill will be up for a vote soon.
The National Sporting Goods Association and NutriSource, which distributes pet food with kangaroo meat in it, haven't returned our requests for comment.
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