Today, as the report into Downing Street’s party allegations was published, PETA’s “bear” headed to Westminster to ask that the prime minister give bears a reason to party – by switching the fur used to make the Queen’s Guard’s caps to humane faux fur. Boris Johnson, when he was Mayor of London, said he’d support using faux fur if it would “help save a few bears” – and it certainly would! Now, as prime minister, he can prevent hundreds of bears from being killed for the ceremonial headpieces every year by ending the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) use of real bear fur – and finally give bears (and the animal-loving British public!) a reason to celebrate.
Bring Banners, Not Bearskins
There is no doubt that the Queen’s Guard’s bearskin caps are iconic. There is also absolutely no doubt that their production is cruel, which is why they should be replaced with a modern, humane faux fur befitting the 21st century.
The world’s most accomplished designers have all dropped this cruelly obtained material in favour of faux fur, and with an indistinguishable faux bear fur offered for free by Stella McCartney’s faux furrier ECOPEL, the MoD has no excuse not to do the same.
It takes the skin of at least one bear to make a single cap. Despite the MoD’s claims that the bears are killed as part of Canadian government–sanctioned “culls”, we have found no evidence of any Canadian province running – or having previously run – any official black bear culling programmes.
The Canadian government does, however, issue an annual quota of “tags” to hunting enthusiasts, who are then free to bait and kill an allotted number of bears. Horrifically, the use of bows and arrows is even permitted. Hunters can then sell on their “trophies”, including bear pelts, to fur auction houses. Some bears are shot several times before they die, and some escape only to bleed to death. When mother bears are killed, their cubs are left to starve.
Come Dressed in Faux, Not Fur
For nearly two centuries, the MoD has waged war on black bears while doing nothing to progress the search for a viable fabric to replace the use of bearskins. For more than 15 years, PETA has worked with faux-fur manufacturers to refine an exact replica in order to retain the aesthetic of the bearskin caps without the indefensible killing of black bears in Canada.
Now, it’s here! PETA and ECOPEL have revealed the world’s first faux bear fur that performs just like the real bearskins used to make the Queen’s Guard’s caps.
An MoD-copyrighted test has confirmed the faux fur is 100% waterproof to the military’s requirements and matches the performance of real fur in tests for “water-shedding”. There’s no reason why the cruelly produced fur caps cannot be replaced with this viable option, despite the ministry’s disingenuous claims to the contrary.
In addition to enabling the MoD to preserve tradition while preventing sensitive bears from being viciously slaughtered for their fur, the high-performing faux bear fur is also more eco-friendly. Real fur must be treated with toxic chemicals to prevent it from decomposing – in this case, on the guards’ heads.
ECOPEL’s faux fur is produced in closed-loop factories, which means all water and chemicals used in the production of the faux fur are recycled. Something for bears to dance about!
It’s Not on the House, It’s on You
Each cap costs an astounding £1,710. More than £1 million of UK taxpayers’ money has been spent on these cruelly produced caps in the past seven years, despite the fact that they serve no military purpose.
Tradition is never an excuse for cruelty. The MoD must adapt and bring the caps up to date using faux fur in a move that reflects public sentiment – 95% of people in the UK refuse to wear fur, and even the Queen no longer buys real fur for her wardrobe.
So why is Boris refusing to act?
Petitions, Not Party Bags
PETA entities across Europe first asked the MoD to stop using bear pelts to make headpieces for the five Foot Guards regiments in 2003. The campaign has engaged celebrities, politicians, the public, and even former guards themselves. It has also involved fashion experts and innovators.
Earlier this month, TV presenter, friend to bears, and PETA supporter Alesha Dixon joined us in launching a parliamentary petition urging the MoD to switch to faux fur. If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it will trigger a much-needed parliamentary debate on the issue.
Have you signed it yet? Do it right now.
Then tell everyone you know to join us in calling on Boris Johnson to tell the MoD, no more bear fur, go fur-free!