Wildlife Photographers to MoD: The Only Way Bears Should Be Shot Is Through a Lens
Ten world-renowned wildlife photographers have united to send a letter to Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace calling on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to stop using the fur of slaughtered black bears for ceremonial headgear:
“As wildlife photographers who have spent our lives documenting the beauty and fragility of the natural world, we are acutely aware of the need to protect – not pillage – the living planet, which includes the animals we share it with. It is for this reason that we ask you to stop funding the slaughter of black bears for the Queen’s Guard’s caps.”
The letter goes on to state that “the only way bears should be shot is through a lens” – we agree! – and urges Wallace to make the switch to modern, humane faux fur – for which no one had to die.
These Photographers Have the Big Picture in Focus
The individuals supporting this cause are Andy Parkinson (photographer), Megan McCubbin, (zoologist, wildlife TV presenter, and photographer), Aaron “Bertie” Gekoski (photojournalist and filmmaker), Britta Jaschinski (photographer and co-founder of Photographers Against Wildlife Crime), Keith Wilson (photo editor, journalist, and co-founder of Photographers Against Wildlife Crime), Craig Jones (photographer), Danny Green (photographer), Jo-Anne McArthur (photographer and founder and president of We Animals Media), Richard Peters (photographer), and Mark Sisson (photographer).
Many of the letter’s signatories have photographed bears in the wild. Parkinson, a Nikon Europe ambassador and National Geographic contributing photographer, has taken a trove of mama bear photos.
McCubbin has worked to rehabilitate bears from the bile-farming industry in China. And Gekoski, a winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, started the Raise the Red Flag campaign to end cruel wildlife tourism.
As the photographers note in their letter, the bears whose fur is used to make the caps are often killed in gruesome ways – and some are mothers, whose cubs are left to starve.
Only Shoot With a Camera
The deaths of these bears are particularly senseless given that luxury faux furrier ECOPEL has created the world’s first faux bear fur – which matches the exact length of real bear fur and meets all of the criteria outlined by the MoD.
In fact, according to an assessment conducted by a leading fabric technologist, the performance of the faux fur fabric is not only equal to that of real bearskin but, in some tests, even better than it. The fabric has been offered to the MoD free of charge until 2030, and considering over £1 million of taxpayer money was spent on 891 bearskin caps over the past seven years, this is a significant saving to the government.
What Can You Do?
Join us in urging the MoD to replace the bearskin used for the caps with a free faux fur and save lives along with taxpayer funds.
A government petition on the issue has been launched. When it reaches 100,000 signatures, a much-needed Parliamentary debate about the bearskin hats will take place.
Take these three simple steps to help end the slaughter of bears for the Queen’s Guard’s caps:
STEP 1: Sign the government petition.
STEP 2: Ask your MP to stand up for bears.
STEP 3: Take to social media.
Please tweet at the prime minister and the MoD and comment on the MoD’s Instagram and Facebook pages.
Struggling with writer’s block? Try something like this:
Hi @BorisJohnson, @PETAUK has provided the MoD with a faux bear fur that is indistinguishable from real fur. Please stop the senseless killing of bears funded by @DefenceHQ and quick-march the new faux fur into service. #MoDGoFurFree