What the bill does:
Senate Bill 764 would prohibit the sale of kangaroo parts and products containing parts of a dead kangaroo. It would punish “unlawful kangaroo exchange” with a maximum 364-day jail sentence, a $6,250 fine, or both.
The bill is aimed at stopping the sale of products made of kangaroo parts, notably soccer cleats made from kangaroo leather. The cleats are sold by various manufacturers, including Oregon-based Nike, one of the state’s largest private employers. Nike told ESPN in December that k-leather is “used in a small portion” of its soccer boots and is sourced from processors “that use sound animal husbandry and humane treatment.”
Animal-rights advocacy groups applauded the bill and said organizations would be referring to the legislation as the No Inhumane Kangaroo Exploitation Act, or the NIKE Act.
If the bill moves forward, Oregon would join California in banning kangaroo-based products. That state outlawed them in the early 1970s.
Connecticut and New Jersey are considering similar bills in their sessions this year.
According to the Animal Legal & Historical Center at Michigan State University, about 90 million kangaroos and wallabies have been lawfully killed for commercial purposes in the past 20 years.
Who’s behind it:
Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, introduced the bill. He is chair of the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee where the bill has been referred.
In a news release sent by the Center for a Humane Economy, Animal Wellness Action and the Animal Wellness Foundation, Prozanski acknowledged the potential financial impact the bill could have on some Oregon shoe manufacturers.
“Oregon should be standing on the humane side of this issue,” he said. “It’s unconscionable that millions of native wild animals in Australia have been killed for the sake of high-end soccer cleats worn by a subset of elite soccer players.”
Where it is in the legislative process:
The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary Jan. 23. It is not yet scheduled for a public hearing.