Royal guards fainted from the heat under their heavy bearskins at the Colonel’s Review, and temperatures continue to soar ahead of the Trooping the Colour ceremony.
PETA has fired off an urgent letter to the newly appointed minister for defence procurement, James Cartlidge, urging him to replace the bear fur used to make the bearskin caps worn by the King’s Guard with PETA’s lighter faux-fur option. Guards would be more comfortable wearing the faux-fur hats and less likely to succumb to the heat. It’s a humane option for humans and bears.
Did you see the King’s guards fainting this weekend wearing their heavy bearskin caps in the heat?
Another reason for the MOD to switch to lighter, humane faux fur!#heatwave #MODgofurfree pic.twitter.com/ciGNJ8rPxe
— PETA UK (@PETAUK) June 12, 2023
A Lighter Faux-Fur Alternative
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) long ago committed to ending the use of real bear fur for the caps once a suitable alternative was found, yet no action has been taken despite the development of a high performing faux fur by PETA and ECOPEL.
Recent laboratory tests confirm that luxury faux furrier ECOPEL’s faux bear fur performs as well as or better than real bear fur against the MoD’s five criteria for a replacement fabric. The company has even offered the ministry an unlimited amount of the faux fur free of charge until 2030, yet the MoD continues to resist making the switch.
“[T]he combination of ECOPEL’s fabric along with a waterproof membrane such as Tyvek will produce a fast-drying, lightweight cap that will be more comfortable and less toxic for the wearer while still conveying the historically important image of the Grenadiers.”
– Atom Cianfarani, independent fabric technologist
Bear Fur Opposed by Guards
Earlier this year in The Independent, a serving guardsman spoke out against the MoD’s continued use of real bear fur for the King’s Guard’s caps, writing, “I am protecting what it means to be British. Certainly, wearing the skin of a dead animal on my head accomplishes none of that.” Many guards take no pride in wearing a slaughtered animal’s fur, and now several are fainting from the heat in these impractical hats.
Over 90% of Brits reject wearing animal fur, and 75% consider the bearskin caps to be a poor use of taxpayer money. Given the current cost of living crisis, it’s time we moved away from these outdated ornamental caps.
One Bearskin Cap = One Dead Bear
It takes the skin of at least one bear to make a single cap. In Canada, recreational hunters are granted tags to kill bears for fun – some even use bows and arrows.
Bears are often shot several times before they die, while others escape only to bleed to death. Nursing mothers may also be killed, leaving behind cubs who starve without them.
Tell the MoD to Go Fur-Free
We can give a nod to tradition and maintain the look and feel of the iconic caps without any of the cruelty. Join the call for guards to wear humane headpieces using our two action alerts.
Urge Rishi Sunak to step in and ensure the MoD switches to faux fur:
If you have a UK address, you can also urge your MP to support a switch to faux fur for the King’s Guard before political parties decide their manifesto commitments this autumn: