California's high court has decided that football shoes made from kangaroo leather cannot be sold in the state, rejecting arguments from sportswear giant Adidas. Lawyers for Adidas held that the state ban on kangaroo products was in conflict with a US federal law that allows for imports of some kangaroo-skin items.
But the San Francisco-based court unanimously ruled on Monday in favour of a British animal rights group, Viva International Voice for Animals, which challenged Adidas and retail firms saying US states can enact stricter wildlife protections than the federal government, according to the decision posted on the court's website.
The animal rights group charges that kangaroos are slaughtered in a cruel manner and that hunters are often not able to distinguish between species that are endangered or not, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
California imposed a ban on the import and sale of kangaroo products in 1971.
The case will now be taken up by the Court of Appeal in San Francisco, where Adidas will have a chance to present other arguments on the issue.
A spokesperson for Adidas said kangaroo leather shoes coveted by footballers comprise only one percent of the company's footwear sold in the United States and that no shoes are made from threatened or endangered kangaroos, the Chronicle reported.