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Sporting giant Nike to step away from kangaroo leather

Nike will stop using kangaroo leather in its sporting shoes following growing calls for the ban by animal welfare advocates.

The US-based company on Tuesday confirmed its leading Tiempo soccer shoes will now be made with a synthetic material it called "a better performance solution" than kangaroo leather.

The leather will also be phased out across all Nike products by the end of the year.

German brand Puma announced similar changes last week, noting the vegan synthetic material was superior.

Animal welfare advocates have welcomed the move, describing the killing of kangaroos as "inhumane slaughter".

"This is a big victory," Kangaroos Alive co-founder Mick McIntyre said in a statement.

"We hope this is the start of sustained good news for our kangaroos."

Australia's population of the iconic marsupials in 2022 was estimated at more than 30 million, while a federal quota for culling and harvesting them has been set at four million.

Kangaroos Alive has long been calling on international companies to stop using kangaroo leather.

California banned kangaroo products in the 1970s, while other US states Oregon and Connecticut are considering doing so.

Oregon's ban would make it a crime to buy, receive, sell or commercially exchange "any product containing a part of a dead kangaroo".

The measure could have big implications for Nike, which is based in Beaverton, Oregon and is the state's largest employer.

"It's become a problem for businesses as consumers push back against the inhumane slaughter," Kangaroos Alive campaign manager Dennis Vink said.

"Big business is waking up to what consumers want and this is going in the right direction."

However federal Nationals leader David Littleproud has accused the government of failing the kangaroo industry, saying culling the native animals is necessary to manage the population.

"Harvesting actually prevents kangaroos from overgrazing, dehydration and starvation," he said in a statement.

"The practical reality of import bans in the US would be detrimental to kangaroo populations in Australia."

Mr Littleproud said Australia's kangaroo export trade was worth $200 million a year.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has been contacted for comment.