Defence Director Magazine Backs Out Of Deal To Run Ad Criticising Guards’ Bearskin Caps

For Immediate Release:
13 October 2008

Sam Glover 020 7357 9229, ext 229; [email protected]

London – After agreeing to publish an ad and an accompanying interview condemning the killing of Canadian black bears for the ceremonial bearskin hats worn by The Queen’s Guards, defence-trade publication Defence Director has reneged on its commitment and cancelled both the interview and the ad. Defence Director approached People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Europe to submit the ad and interview as a counterpoint to an upcoming feature in which Baroness Ann Taylor is to discuss the use of synthetic materials in bearskin helmets. “This is the perfect opportunity to get your view points to government”, the editors wrote to PETA.

PETA’s first ad, which showed a bear skin with the shape of a Guards’ hat cut out of it, was deemed “too graphic”, although it was carefully crafted to omit any of the gore inherent in the actual shooting of the bears. PETA then submitted a second ad, which shows a Guard wearing a bearskin cap next to the tagline, “Indefensible – If the Cap Fits”, and explains what happens to bears who are killed for the hats. Just as the second ad was about to run, Defence Director cancelled it as well.

PETA recently promised that if the Ministry of Defence (MoD) would agree not to procure any more bearskins, PETA would give all its funds currently budgeted for the campaign to the Help for Heroes Fund to assist limbless soldiers and others who have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The MoD snubbed the offer.

“It appears the MoD has pressured the magazine to avoid alerting the public to the suffering and carnage behind every Guard’s cap”, says PETA Director Robbie LeBlanc, who notes that according to Defence Director’s website, the publication is distributed through an “MoD-owned and protected database”. “The public overwhelmingly oppose the use of real fur, and while the MoD says it’s moving towards a switch to synthetics, it has stonewalled now for too long, and our tempers are fraying.”

It can take the entire hide of one bear to make just one Guard’s cap. Some bears who are killed for the hats are shot several times before they die, and some escape and bleed to death. When mother bears are killed, their cubs are left behind to starve.

For more information and to view the ad, please visit