Nike hyping dog fighting wasn't enough. (Check out this 2003 Nike commercial, which animal advocates unavailingly urged Nike to pull. At 57 seconds you'll see a pitbull and Rottweilers facing off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSHQv9FhvVA). Now we read that Adidas is lobbying to reverse a thirty-six-year-old California ban on the sale of kangaroo skin so that they can legally sell their sneakers. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" have covered the story this week.
Besides the animal rights issue, there is also a states rights issue here, as Adidas argues that federal law, which allows the sale of kangaroo skin, takes precedence over state law. (That reminds us of a recent legislative attempt to pass, as part of the farm bill, a federal law prohibiting states from passing their own food and animal protection measures -- an attempt successfully quashed by animal advocacy efforts including letters from many of you.)
The York Times article, "Ban on Kangaroo Hides Puzzles Australians Here" (July 25, pg A11) explains that California Supreme Court on Monday upheld the ban in deciding a lawsuit brought by the animal rights group Viva against Adidas. We read:
"A lawyer for Viva, Orly Degani, said she planned to seek an injunction to force Adidas to stop selling the shoes. Ms. Degani also said she would encourage Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California to prosecute Adidas."
But meanwhile, Adidas is still selling the shoes.
The Los Angeles Times article by Maura Dolan, on the cover of the Metro Section (pg B1) is headed, "Justices uphold kangaroo hide ban." (Tuesday, July 24, pg B1) It focuses on the states rights issue.
"Animal rights groups hailed the decision for giving states the right to protect species even after the federal government decided that they were no longer in peril."
Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown is quoted:
"The significance is not just kangaroos and shoes but the authority of the state to protect species by banning products. It reaffirms that California has the authority and autonomy as a state to do this kind of work."
And we read:
"In ruling against Adidas, the court said the federal government's decision to withdraw protection for the kangaroo 'leaves the field open for states to act as they individually see fit.'"
Yet the Los Angeles Times, discussing David Beckham's choice, made it clear that it is not only a states rights issue:
"Beckham, whose wife, Victoria, is a vegetarian, said he reached his decision against wearing the shoes after viewing graphic videos of the killing of baby kangaroos in Australia, news reports said."
The Los Angeles Times article includes this disturbing news:
"The ban, however, could still be repealed by the state Legislature or struck down on other legal grounds as the case proceeds. The state Senate voted in May to end the ban on importing and selling kangaroo parts, and that bill is now in the Assembly. Since 2003, the first year the bill was introduced, Adidas America has spent $435,693 lobbying the Legislature, state filings show."
Indeed, the ban is in danger. Viva and other groups are urging Californians to lobby their legislators, and to ask Governor Schwarzenegger to veto the bill should it pass -- which it might. Please go to http://www.api4animals.org/actionalerts.php?p=1240&more=1 to learn more about the issue and what you can do to help.
While kangaroo leather is no intrinsically worse than any other leather, the prospect of a corporation successfully lobbying to overturn a Supreme Court upheld animal friendly law is chilling.
NPR's "All Things Considered" covered the issue today, Wednesday July 25.
Reporter Robert Siegel tells us that Adidas has been supplying stores in California with the "contraband" shoes, and retailers have been ignorant of or "blithely violating" the ban, while California Fish and Game has not been enforcing it.
It ends on a fun note, telling us "David Beckham, in deference to his wife's vegetarianism, wears synthetics."
You can listen to the story on line at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12234107
Positive feedback for animal friendly stories encourages more of them, and encourages follow-ups on the issue. Perhaps if enough public interest is displayed, NPR will cover the dangerous bill and Adidas's lobbying efforts against California's ban.
Please go to
http://www.npr.org/contact/ to thank NPR for the coverage and ask for more. Select "NPR" program and select "All Things Considered."
Letters to the editor of the Los Angeles Times and New York Times will also keep the issue out in the open, making it harder for legislators to bow to lobbyists and vote against the public's affection for kangaroos.
The New York Times takes letters at email@example.com and the Los Angeles Times takes letters at firstname.lastname@example.org
Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Remember that shorter letters are more likely to be published. And please be sure not to use any comments or phrases from me or from any other alerts in your letters. Editors are looking for original responses from their readers.
Yours and the animals',
(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)
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Date: Wed Jul 25 22:22:53 2007
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An animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets.
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