Have you already contacted the Ministry of Defence (MoD) asking it to switch to faux bear fur for the Queen’s Guard’s caps? If you have, you’ve likely been told two ridiculous things:
- The faux fur does not meet the ministry’s requirements. This is not true.
- The fur used to make the caps is the by-product of a necessary “cull” of black bears overseen by the Canadian authorities (as if that would somehow make it OK!). This is not true either – and the MoD knows it.
The MoD Has No Clue About the Origin of the Bear Fur
Research by PETA US finds no evidence of any Canadian province running – or having previously run – any official black bear culling programmes.
When we submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the MoD seeking details to back up its claim, it was forced to admit that it doesn’t have a clue about its bear-fur supply chain:
“No information in scope of this element of your request is held by the department. … [T]he MOD receives the final product from our contracted suppliers and is not involved with the licensed cull sanctioned by the Canadian government.”
In other words, the MoD purchases finished caps, not the fur itself.
So Where Do the Bear Pelts Used for the Caps Come From?
We know that the Canadian government issues an annual quota of “tags” to licensed hunting enthusiasts, who are then free to bait and kill an allotted number of bears.
The hunters often shoot bears several times before they die. Some escape and die slowly from blood loss, gangrene, starvation, or dehydration. Horrifically, it is even legal for these hunters to use bows and arrows. Just imagine the agony of the last moments of these animals’ lives.
Some provinces allow hunters to kill mother bears, leaving behind their precious cubs. Most of them will starve to death or be killed by predators without their mothers to protect them.
Hunters are permitted to sell on their “trophies”, including bear pelts, to fur auction houses for financial gain.
Is the MoD Deliberately Misleading the Public?
PETA believes the MoD is using the word “cull” as a euphemism for the killing of bears by these “sport” or “trophy” hunters.
It’s undeniable that money from buyers of bear-fur products is funding the slaughter of bears in Canada.
When the MoD uses UK taxpayers’ money (your money!) to buy caps made from bear fur, it incentivises cowardly hunters to kill bears for their skins.
The MoD Knows That Faux Fur Is Available
As a further insult, the MoD had the audacity to respond to the government’s consultation about a UK fur sales and import ban, stating that it would “require an exemption to the proposed ban on importing animal pelts in order to maintain the provision of ceremonial bearskin hats”, as revealed by a separate PETA FOI request.
It did this even though it knows (despite its disingenuous claims to the contrary) that a faux bear fur now exists that has been proven to meet its requirements. It also knows that luxury faux furrier ECOPEL, which worked with PETA to develop the faux fur to the ministry’s standards, has generously offered to provide an unlimited free supply of the material until 2030. Yet it still insists on bankrolling the slaughter of bears overseas.
New legislation, set to be introduced this year, will restrict the importation of hunting trophies into the UK. Black bears will be part of it – they are listed in Annex B of the UK Wildlife Trade Regulations meaning the body parts of bears killed by trophy hunters will be illegal to import to the UK. The MoD has more than likely requested an exemption to this, too.
The MoD top brass truly believes it’s accountable to no one and can do as it pleases.
You Have the Power to Help Bears
The MoD will continue to behave dishonourably until it is told that there will be no more bear pelts.
The cost of just one of these ornamental caps – in addition to at least one bear’s life – has risen to £1,710. Enough is enough. Please join us in calling on the government to quick-march faux fur caps into service. Bears need 100,000 of us to take action: