Today, PETA sent a letter to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) threatening legal action if the ministry continues to fail to properly consider a faux bear fur developed by PETA that would enable the MoD to keep its promise to replace the bearskins used for the King’s Guard’s ornamental caps once a suitable material is found.
Even though PETA and luxury fur furrier ECOPEL have created a material that satisfies the agreed-upon terms – and a fabric technologist gave a glowing assessment of the world’s first faux bear fur – the MoD is failing to uphold its side of the bargain, refusing to consider the assessment or to trial the faux bear fur against the relevant criteria, which the letter identifies as grounds for judicial review due to unlawful conduct.
The letter details the years of correspondence between PETA and the MoD, including the repeated assurances from the ministry that a faux bear fur meeting its criteria of being waterproof and having fibres the same length as real bear fur would be adopted. In May 2022, PETA sent the ministry a four-page summary of test results, provided by fabric technologist Atom Cianfarani, detailing the faux fur’s performance in drying rate and compression testing – further proving that the material meets and in some areas exceeds the MoD’s requirements, matches the exact length of real bear fur, and is 100% waterproof. But in August 2022, the MoD notified Cianfarani that it would not even bother to evaluate the report.
PETA has devoted many years and thousands of pounds to developing and testing this state-of-the-art faux bear fur, yet the MoD refuses to honour the deal it made. The ECOPEL faux fur not only meets the MoD’s requirements but outperforms bearskin in some areas, so the ministry has no excuse not to adopt PETA’s vegan upgrade as promised.
“The MoD has repeatedly stated that it will test any faux fur PETA presents to it, most recently in a July 2022 parliamentary debate where the former procurement minister said that it is not wedded to bearskin and again reiterated the principled acceptance that if shown to be an appropriate replacement, faux fur would be adopted,” says Lorna Hackett, PETA’s legal counsel from Hackett & Dabbs LLP. “Despite this, the MoD has refused to analyse test results that prove the faux fur meets and exceeds the standards. PETA has been left with no choice but to pursue a judicial review on the grounds of unlawful conduct.”
The MoD has refused requests to meet with us and denied access to its cap makers, even though ECOPEL has offered an unlimited amount of the faux fur free of charge until 2030 – which would save taxpayer money and many bears’ lives. A government e-petition in support of PETA’s campaign amassed more than 100,000 signatures from the UK public, triggering a parliamentary debate in July.
After decades of telling the public that its fur is sourced from bears who are killed as part of Canadian government “culls”, the MoD admitted in a Freedom of Information request response that it purchases finished caps and has no knowledge of its supply chain, after PETA found no evidence that any such culls exist in any province or territory of Canada. Instead, hunters obtain permits to bait and kill bears for “sport”, then sell their fur to auction houses. It takes the skin of at least one bear to make a single cap. Some bears are shot several times before they die, and some escape only to bleed to death. The use of bows and arrows to hunt bears is permitted. Nursing mothers are among those killed and leave behind cubs who starve without them.
Bears Need You to Take Action
The Ministry of Defence has no excuses left not to make the humane switch. Join the campaign by urging Rishi Sunak to order the MoD quick-march the high-tech, luxurious faux fur into service.