Horror as two million kangaroos are butchered to make football boots each year

More than two million kangaroos are killed each year to make sports shoes, campaigners say.

Nike, Adidas, Puma, Umbro and Copa, which is made by Adidas, all use ‘K-leather’ in their products.

Campaigners are now urging consumers not to buy shoes that have been made from the animal’s skin.

The kangaroo industry is the largest land-based commercial wildlife slaughter in the world.

Conservationists have told of female kangaroos being shot and joeys ripped from their pouches to face the bullet, or be bludgeoned to death.

The Australian Society for Kangaroos says that every year, 440,000 joeys die after their mothers have been shot.

Wayne Pacelle, of the Center for a Humane Economy, said: “Hired guns kill entire kangaroo families in the dead of night to sell skins to the best-known athletic shoe company.”

Lex Rigby, of vegan charity Viva! added: “The kangaroo meat industry is one of the most brutal and violent in the world. Consumers should avoid any footwear labelled as K-leather.”

The kangaroo is the national animal of Australia and although it is protected by law, the killings are legal.

Campaigners estimate that five million kangaroos died in the 2020 bushfires and the species is now under threat.

But many Australian farmers regard the animals as pests.

Mark Pearson, founder of the Animal Justice Party, said: “Due to years of extermination, you’re more likely to see a dead kangaroo rotting in a paddock than a live one in the wild.”

A spokesman for Nike said it worked with suppliers to source skins from processors who used “humane treatment”.

Adidas said it was “opposed to kangaroos being killed in an inhumane or cruel manner”.