Monday, November 28, 2005

Viva! v. Adidas (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 21, 2005)

I'm not a vegetarian. I'm eating a chicken -- okay, a chicken burrito -- for lunch today, and might also have a leather belt or two. (Or might not; honestly, I don't know.) In short, I'm not a black-and-white animal rights person.

That said, I was fairly surprised to see this opinion. If only to learn that Adidas is actively selling sneakers made of -- get this -- kangaroos.

Uh, dude. I do not need my shoes to be made of kangaroo. Maybe leather is fine; or maybe it's not. But kangaroo leather?! That just seems wholly unnecessary. I'd have the same reaction to panda leather, polar bear leather, baby elephant leather, etc. I just don't get it. Do we really need shoes made out of a kangaroo?

Well, if the market's always right -- which of course it is (yay capitalism!) -- I guess we do have a desperate need to wear kangaroos on our feet. And thank you, Adidas, for bringing this burning need to our attention. Still, I was darn surprised to see that we apparently needed to kill kangaroos because our regular sneakers just aren't good enough. I can see the upcoming Adidas ads now. "Phi Slamma Jamma. You too can jump as high as a kangaroo. 'Cause you're wearing one on your feet. Adidas." Can't wait.

You'll be happy to know that California -- and I love ya, baby, I really do -- prohibits importation of products made from, inter alia, dead kangaroos. So sayeth Penal Code Section 653o. Ditto for whales, leopards, tigers, cheetahs, cobras, sea turtles, dolphins, sea otters, and a wide variety of other animals that, quite frankly, I don't particularly want to see killed just because they might look cool on my sneakers. But Justice Marchiano holds that this statute is preempted by federal law. Notwithstanding a fairly broad saving provision in the Endangered Species Act that expressly allows state regulation in this area.

Maybe Justice Marchiano is right. But I definitely think the California Supreme Court should take this one up. It's an important issue. And Justice Marchiano may also, in fact, be wrong.