Dame Vera Lynn’s Daughter Pens Bearskins Plea to MoD

Dame Vera Lynn’s Daughter Pens Bearskins Plea to MoD

London – Before her death in 2020, Dame Vera Lynn called on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to stop using bearskin for the Queen’s Guard’s caps – and now, her daughter, Virginia Lewis-Jones, has picked up the torch, writing a letter today to Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace imploring him to honour the “Forces’ Sweetheart” by replacing the bearskin used for the caps with faux fur.

“Like many of her generation, my mother witnessed the seismic shift in attitudes towards fur,” writes Lewis-Jones. “What was once a symbol of prosperity and glamour became a symbol of cruelty. And as a reflection of these changing attitudes, most British people, even Her Majesty the Queen, have come to reject it. … Yet, inexplicably, bear fur is still being used to make the Queen’s Guard’s ornamental headwear.”

That’s why PETA has joined forces with luxury faux furrier ECOPEL to create the world’s first faux bear fur, and ECOPEL has offered the MoD an unlimited amount of the material free of charge until 2030 – a move that could save over £1 million of taxpayer money. ECOPEL’s fabric meets all the MoD’s requirements: it matches the exact length of real bear fur, is 100% waterproof, and performs similarly in “water shedding”, drying rate, and compression tests, but the ministry still disingenuously claims that no suitable non-animal alternative is available.

The MoD also claims that bears are killed as part of Canadian government culls, but PETA has found no evidence that any culls of this sort exist in any province or territory of Canada. Hunters obtain permits to bait and kill bears, whose fur is then sold 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.

“My mother enjoyed many British traditions, but felt strongly – as do I – that using real bearskin for hats is one tradition not worth saving,” concludes Lewis-Jones. “With your help, these faux fur caps can – and should – be quick-marched into service, honouring her wishes and her memory.”

A petition in support of PETA’s campaign has hit the threshold for triggering a debate in Parliament, while a new poll from PETA carried out by Populus – The Times’ official pollster – reveals that 73% of the British public would like to see action taken to replace the bearskin with faux fur.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk or follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Anissa Putois; [email protected]