The Ministry of Defence and the Army have come under attack from animal rights campaigners after it emerged that 127 bearskins have been ordered from Canada to be used in making the traditional headgear worn by guards at Buckingham Palace. Using real Canadian Black Bear fur to make the 18in-tall headgear has provoked such an angry response that the MoD refuses to reveal its supplier for fear of attacks on the supplier’s staff.
The ceremonial headgear has been worn by British soldiers for 200 years to symbolise the victory over Napoleon’s bearskin-wearing Imperial Guard at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Among the units of the British Army that wear them are the Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards, and Welsh Guards – some of the most historic units in the British Army.
The MoD has said that they have made efforts to replace the fur with synthetic equivalent but they proven “unsuccessful”.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) issued a statement saying:
It is inexcusable that the same army which is capable of building some of the most sophisticated equipment and machinery in the world claims it is unable to find a synthetic replacement for bearskins despite the availability of luxurious synthetic materials. The fact is that the Ministry of Defence spends tens of thousands of pounds each year supporting the fur industry while doing absolutely nothing to further the search for synthetic materials. For each one of the 127 caps purchased, a bear was cruelly killed, either by being shot during a hunt or ensnared, possibly for days, in a painful trap. During hunts, as many as one bear in seven is not killed immediately after being shot, and some escape wounded, dying later from blood loss or starvation. In the case of mothers with nursing cubs, it can mean the slaughter of entire families.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
SHOULD THE BRITISH ARMY BE ALLOWED TO CARRY ON WITH THIS TRADITION OR SHOULD THEY BE FORCED TO USE SYNTHETIC ALTERNATIVES?
HAVE YOUR SAY BY COMMENTING BELOW. THIS IS AN UNDERSTANDABLY PASSIONATE TOPIC SO PLEASE KEEP IT CIVIL.