Majority of Brits back replacing Bearskin caps worn by Queen’s Guards with faux fur
PETA unveils faux-fur Queen’s Guard cap to save bears
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The poll for animal rights organisation PETA found that 73 percent of the British public would like to see the iconic hats made with faux fur instead of bear pelts.
The survey by polling company Populus also found that 75 percent say real bearskin caps are a “bad use of Government funds” amid the cost of living crisis.
Leading faux furrier Ecopel has offered the Ministry of Defence (MoD) its fake bear fur for free until 2030, which PETA claims could save taxpayers £1 million.
The animal rights organisation says the faux alternative looks and performs in exactly the same way as the real bearskin hats, including being completely waterproof.
However, the MoD insists the fake version does not meet its requirements.
Calls to switch to faux fur for the ceremonial headdress have been backed by cross-party MPs including Tory veteran Sir Roger Gale.
Sir Roger, who has tried on PETA’s faux bearskin cap, highlighted how the Queen ditched real fur several years ago for her new outfits.
The North Thanet MP said: “I have to say I think that the MoD is on fairly weak ground on this.
“I understand tradition and all the rest of it and the Guardsmen are rightly very proud of their traditions and so is Her Majesty.
“Frankly if faux fur is good enough for the Queen then surely it ought to be good enough for her Guards.”
Sir Roger added: “What I do know having held it and tried it on is that it’s a hell of a lot lighter apart from anything else.
“And I would have thought actually that once they get used to the idea that it’s not a real bear, Guardsmen would probably prefer it simply in terms of comfort, never mind all the ethical issues which obviously I mind.
“But even if the Guardsmen aren’t interested in the ethical issues, purely in terms of their personal comfort, I think it’s a win-win.”
PETA senior campaigns manager Kate Werner: “As many Brits struggle to pay for essentials like gas and electricity, they’re rightly outraged at the thought of funding ornamental caps for which bears are killed.
“We remind the Government that switching to faux fur is a wildly popular move that would save money and bears’ lives.”
The campaign has the backing of the influential Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF), which counts Sir Roger, environment minister Lord Goldsmith and the Prime Minister’s wife Carrie Johnson among its patrons.
CAWF co-founder Lorraine Platt said: “We urge the MoD to adopt the new caps.
“We believe there is no justification to continue using the fur of Canadian black bears for the ornamental caps when an excellent alternative exists.
“They cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands every year and using real fur conflicts with public opinion on this issue.”
A petition demanding the Government switches the caps worn by the Queen’s Guards to faux fur has received more than 70,000 signatures.
An Army spokesperson said: “Bears are never hunted to order for the MoD.
“The iconic bearskin cap is made from bear pelts obtained from licensed culls by the Canadian authorities to manage the wild population.
“Ensuring the Guards caps remain both practical and smart is vital and currently there are currently no artificial alternatives available that meet the essential requirements for these ceremonial caps.”
Bearskins are worn by the Grenadier Guards, the Coldstream Guards, the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards and the Welsh Guards.
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