In 2003, Viva!USA filed a lawsuit against Adidas America Inc and three sports shops for illegally selling kangaroo skin Predator boots in California.
California has often been a leader in progressive legislation and in the 1970s passed a law to protect kangaroos, crocodiles and alligators by prohibiting the import and sale of products made from their body parts. It was a commendable attempt to protect wildlife from commercial exploitation and keep it where it belongs - in the wild. In what appears to be a direct flouting of this penal code, Adidas has been selling its kangaroo skin Predator boots in sports shops around the state.
Having discovered this potential law breaking, Viva!USA found attorneys willing to take on the case pro bono and the lawsuit was filed. Reuters, Associated Press and all major wire services sent the news around the world and international media immediately picked up on it. The day the lawsuit was filed - Adidas' share price dropped!
In what seems more than coincidence, California state senator Dennis Hollingsworth introduced a bill into the state legislature to repeal that same penal code on which our action is based, but it was eventually quashed. 2004 saw two bills introduced, but both were unsuccessful due to lobbying by Viva!USA.
In 2005, despite the overwhelming evidence supplied by Viva!USA to show that it was vital to keep the ban in place, Assembly woman Nicole Parra (Representing Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare Counties - and supported by Adidas) introduced the bill AB734 to overturn it. Once again Senators listened to reason, and it was stopped in the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
However, in November 2005 the First District Court of Appeal ruled that California's ban on importing shoes and other items made from the hides of Australian kangaroos cannot be enforced as federal law takes precedence, despite California state law clearly banning such sales.
Viva! Attorney Orly Degani announced the group is considering an appeal to the California Supreme Court, saying "We're talking about a very cruel practice that the California Legislature does not want to condone."
Viva! will continue to lead the boycott of Adidas, and will do so until they finally face facts and cease killing for kicks.