Royal Guardsman Speaks Out Against Bear Fur Caps

Posted by on April 28, 2023 | Permalink

In an exclusive piece for The Independent, a Foot Guard has spoken out against the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) continued use of real bear fur for the King’s Guard’s caps.

“I was made aware that majestic bears living freely in Canada are still being killed for ‘sport’ and their fur is used to make our caps. Suddenly, the uniform’s image is tarnished and wearing it feels cruel and inhumane.”
– Royal Guardsman

The MoD has maintained that the guards take pride in wearing the bearskin hats, but in the piece, this guardsman notes that while he is proud to put on his uniform and conduct his duties – seeking to protect justice, unity, and honour – he takes no pride in the Busby hat he is made to wear.

“I am protecting what it means to be British. Certainly, wearing the skin of a dead animal on my head accomplishes none of that.”
– Royal Guardsman

One Cap, One Bear’s Life

The guard poignantly explains how it takes the skin of at least one bear to make a single cap and highlights that some bears are shot several times before they die – and others escape only to bleed to death. Mother bears may be killed, leaving their cubs unprotected and likely to starve.

“This cruel exploitation contradicts my duties as a royal guard. Being a British soldier should be about protecting and saving others.”
– Royal Guardsman

Faux Fur Alternative

In the article, the anonymous Royal Guardsman also highlights that the world’s first faux bear fur – created by PETA and luxury faux furrier ECOPEL – has been made readily available to the MoD for years and is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, lighter, and water-resistant.

Calling for change, the guard concludes the piece by urging the ministry to move towards a kinder future.

“I believe that making a simple move from cruelty to sustainability serves only to strengthen our traditions. Allow us caps worthy of a Royal Guardsman. Allow us caps worthy of the UK.”
– Royal Guardsman

The MoD has refused requests to meet with PETA or ECOPEL 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. Currently, each cap costs £1,710, and the MoD has spent £1 million of taxpayer money on them in the past seven years.

A government e-petition in support of PETA’s campaign amassed more than 100,000 signatures from the UK public, triggering a parliamentary debate last July. Yet the ministry has still not taken any meaningful action on this issue. We have now renewed our call for the MoD to collaborate with us to test the faux bear fur in its accredited laboratory against its five criteria.

Support Humane, Bear-Free Caps

The Royal Guardsman’s honest and deeply moving piece highlights why the ministry must switch to faux fur immediately.

PETA is calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to instruct the MoD to stop using real bear fur for the ornamental headpieces worn by the King’s Guard and to have the ceremonial caps fashioned from luxurious faux fur instead. Will you join us?