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Stop the MoD Using the Fur of Slaughtered Bears for the King’s Guard’s Caps

People are appalled to learn that the UK’s royal guards’ caps are not made of faux fur but that of slaughtered Canadian black bears.

PETA is calling on the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to stop using real bear fur for the ornamental headpieces worn by the King’s Guard and make the ceremonial caps out of modern, high-quality faux fur instead. Please help put pressure on the MoD by urging the Secretary of State for Defence to switch to faux fur.

Where Do the Ornamental Headpieces Come From?

Many people are shocked to learn that the UK’s royal guard’s caps are not yet made of faux fur but from the skins of Canadian black bears. Bears targeted by trophy hunters for their fur and other body parts are often shot but not immediately killed. As many as one bear in seven will escape wounded and die slowly from blood loss or starvation.

In some provinces of Canada, a springtime hunt of bears is permitted. Mother bears seeking food for their cubs are often killed, leading to the death of entire families. Hunters are allowed to kill the bears using a variety of weapons, from guns to bows and arrows. In some parts of the country, even spears are legal – a particularly slow and painful way to die.

PETA’s research has revealed no evidence that the black bear skins used for the King’s Guard’s caps come from Canadian government–sanctioned “culls”, as peddled by the MoD. When we submitted a Freedom of Information request to the ministry for details to back up its claim, it was forced to admit that it doesn’t have a clue about its bear fur supply chain. Those who kill the bears and sell their fur are in fact doing so for “fun” and for profit. You can read more about the issue here.

Taxpayers’ Money Is Spent on Bear Fur

In addition to a bear’s life, 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. ECOPEL – a global faux fur textile and apparel manufacturer – has offered to supply the MoD with unlimited free faux bear fur until 2030.

Since more than 95% of the UK public refuses to wear fur, it is a betrayal of British values to use taxpayer money for caps made from bears slaughtered overseas.

The MoD Offers Judgement – But No Solutions

PETA and ECOPEL have developed a faux bear fur that meets all the requirements outlined to PETA by the MoD for replacing bearskins. It is the same length as real bear fur, is 100% waterproof, and performs in a remarkably similar way to real bear fur in water shedding tests. To the naked eye, the two fabrics look virtually identical. Yet, despite being presented with a high-quality, high-performing fabric, the MoD claims – falsely – that the fabric is not a “viable alternative”. You can read more here.

The MoD’s tired excuses are unacceptable. ECOPEL has offered to meet and work with its cap makers to allow any possible adjustments to the fabric free of charge. Yet the ministry has refused the request, blocking any chance of progress while deceitfully telling the public it would be willing to change were a suitable alternative provided.

Take Action Now

Instead of buying caps that are the product of the shameful slaughter of black bears, the UK must set a compassionate example and switch to high-tech, luxurious faux fur. We need to let Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps know that bearskin hats are a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Fill out the form below to take action. Clicking submit will send the minister an e-mail.

Edit our e-mail template and include your own polite message to make a bigger impact. If you are a UK taxpayer and don’t want to pay for cruelty, please mention this in your message.

Rt Hon
UK Government

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