The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) has dismissed claims any of its 1,800 members are encouraging the illegal slaughter of hundreds of kangaroos for their leather.

In a statement, FESI said its members are "committed to safe and humane animal welfare standards" and insist soccer boot producers respect the rigorous rules and regulations of the Australian government for the humane treatment of animals.

The Brussels-based group said its members only use Australian government certified kangaroo leather and export certificates ensure that all leather can be traced and controlled by the Wildlife Protection Authority.

It added: "FESI members are committed to responsible and sustainable sourcing. Our understanding, supported by facts from the Australian government is that the kangaroo population is highest it has ever been."