This is the third time in the past few months CT News Junkie has carried a story concerning wildlife and the inhumane treatment of animals, and the third time its coverage of animal issues has been less than balanced or approached with the seriousness the subject matter deserves.

The most recent example is Susan Bigelow’s January 17 Opinion that referenced HB 5113, regarding the use of kangaroo skins in products imported for sale in the United States.  In my opinion, it was flippant, dismissive, and detrimental to further constructive dialogue.

In her “analysis” she declares, “What the heck?? Apparently, this is a real thing… I did not know this. I have no idea what to think about it.”  Granted this is a new topic for CT voters and the statement of purpose bills do not offer much detail, but a little bit of homework would have given her the information necessary to make a more informed “analysis” which she, in turn, could have shared with the NewsJunkie readership.

Allow me to make up for the lack of information and share with the NewsJunkie readers that this, indeed, “is very much a real thing” and a tragedy that deserves recognition.  Every year more than two million kangaroos are savagely killed in Australia, one of the largest slaughters of indigenous wildlife in the world. More than 400,000 joeys (baby kangaroos in the pouch) are killed by blunt force trauma to the head, typically done by smashing the young animal’s head into a truck bumper. This inhumane practice is done at night with hunters unable to see if the joey is still alive.  Seriously injured joeys are left there to needlessly suffer and die.

What does this desecration of wildlife have to do with Connecticut? It’s all about soccer shoes (aka cleats) made from skins gotten from the two million kangaroos slaughtered – and their ultimate sale in CT and other states’ retail stores. The skins are used for a small number of soccer shoe models manufactured primarily by Nike and Adidas. Other athletic shoe manufacturers have banned the practice, others are promising to do so in the near future as athletic shoe companies no longer make products from any wildlife species. Nike and Adidas are the big holdouts.  California has already banned the sale and multiple states, including New Jersey have similar bills pending along with CT, with several others considering the same.   

Do we want CT consumers to participate in this pipeline of cruelty?  The answer is a decisive no.  When alerted to the link between soccer cleat sales and the mass killing of kangaroos, people in our state will want nothing to do with that kind of commerce. News Junkie reporters, and its regular opinion writers, may think these topics don’t deserve better treatment, but I believe the residents of Connecticut would differ with that opinion. 

CT Votes for Animals thanks Representative David Michel for sponsoring HB 5113, for his leadership as a co-chair of the Animal Advocacy Caucus and for all his other bills that recognize the importance animals play in a civilized society.

Jo-Anne Basile, Executive Director
Ct Votes for Animals

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Jo-Anne Basile,

Jo-Anne Basile is Executive Director of CT Votes for Animals.

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