Scottish MPs Stand Against Bear Fur for the Scots Guards’ Caps

Posted by on August 5, 2023 | Permalink

Ahead of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, during which bearskin caps are regularly on parade, 16 members of Parliament representing Scotland sent a letter requesting that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) replace the bearskins used for the caps worn by the King’s Guard, starting with the Scots Guards – Scotland’s Foot Guards regiment – with faux fur.

The compassionate MPs include Shadow Scottish National Party (SNP) Spokesperson for Defence Dave Doogan; SNP Spokesperson for Education, Armed Forces and Veterans Carol Monaghan; and Shadow SNP Spokesperson (DEFRA Team Member) Steven Bonnar.

While we strongly urge the MoD to replace all the bearskin caps with faux-fur versions, the letter specifically demanded that the Scots Guards’ caps be replaced with a modern, humane alternative.

John Nicolson MP spoke out for the bears again in a new PETA video, calling for the faux-fur replacement:

Scottish MPs – like the vast majority of the public – do not want the Scots Guards to parade with the skin of dead bears on their heads.

Iconic Caps Derived From Bear Hunts

For decades, the MoD told the public that fur sourced for the caps comes from bears who are killed as part of Canadian government “culls”. However, following a Freedom of Information request response – after PETA found no evidence that any such culls exist in any province or territory of Canada – the MoD admitted that it purchases finished caps and has no knowledge of its supply chain.

Instead, PETA discovered that hunters obtain permits to bait and kill bears for “sport”, then sell their fur to auction houses. It takes the skin of at least one bear to make a single cap. Some bears are shot several times before they die, and some escape only to bleed to death. The use of bows and arrows to hunt bears is permitted. In some Canadian provinces, there are no restrictions on shooting nursing mothers, which leads to the death of entire families, as cubs are orphaned and soon starve.

Faux-Fur Replacement

The MoD has long maintained that it is not wedded to the use of bearskin and would replace it with faux fur when a suitable fabric became available.

PETA, therefore, invested significant resources into developing a fabric with luxury faux furrier ECOPEL that satisfies the agreed-upon terms. An independent fabric technologist found that the ECOPEL material performs in the same way as bear fur, yet the MoD has failed to uphold its end of the bargain.

Vast Majority of Scots Reject Fur

In the letter, MPs note that such abject cruelty does not reflect Scottish people’s “morals and values”. They cite polls showing that the vast majority of Scotland’s population rejects fur and point to a recent survey showing that only 11% of citizens questioned support the use of real fur for these ceremonial caps.

Replacing the bearskin with faux fur would allow the history of the caps to endure in a way that reflects modern society’s respect for wildlife.

Call on Rishi Sunak to Intervene

PETA is calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to stop the MoD from using real bear fur for the ceremonial headpieces worn by the King’s Guard. Please join us by sending an e-mail to the prime minister now: