Animal activists target soccer boots16 July 2002
International soccer players are being targeted by Australian anti-kangeroo shooting activists because of the leather used in their boots. Most premium boots worn by stars such as David Beckham and Fabien Barthez are made from kangaroo leather: the Adidas Predator. They are also the target of English animal rights group, Viva. Boot makers Lotto, Umbro, Nike and Reebok have also been criticised for using the material. Viva has written letters to soccer stars appealing to them to stop wearing the boots. The group claims kangaroos are inhumanely slaughtered after being caught alive, which the Australian government strongly denies. Federal Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss, said the group was taking advantage of an emotive subject, falsely claiming the industry was unsustainable. He said kangeroo harvesting is closely regulated and monitored. In many areas of Australia the livelihoods of rural people were at risk, as kangeroos were, in fact, far too numerous and were causing considerable environmental damage through overgrazing.