Ministry of Defence Aligns Itself With Fur Industry Scheme; PETA Urges Switch to Faux Fur

Ministry of Defence Aligns Itself With Fur Industry Scheme; PETA Urges Switch to Faux Fur

London – In correspondence recently obtained by PETA regarding the purely ornamental bearskin caps worn by the King’s Guard, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has aligned itself with “Furmark” – a controversial fur industry marketing scheme – in its response to a citizen who urged the ministry to stop using the fur of Canadian black bears. Despite decades of assurances to the public and MPs that it would drop fur once a suitable replacement was found, the MoD has refused to move forward with a state-of-the-art faux fur developed by PETA and luxury faux furrier ECOPEL. Tests have revealed the material is waterproof and mimics real bear fur in both appearance and performance.

In this instance, the Furmark accreditation simply means that the fur comes from auction houses that only sell pelts from hunters who had permits, which is already legally required. Even former British Fur Trade Association CEO Mike Moser called Furmark a “meaningless” scheme that seeks to “sugar-coat the truth behind this … cruel trade”.

The MoD misleadingly claims in its 7 November letter that the scheme “guarantees animal welfare”, even though it is acceptable under the scheme to hunt and kill bears with crossbows, which although legal in most Canadian territories, is a form of hunting that has been banned in the UK since 1965.

“Instead of aligning with the values and morals of the British public, who reject fur, and with the example set by the late Queen Elizabeth when she refused to buy fur for her wardrobe, the MoD is aligning itself with an accreditation scheme that attempts to greenwash and justify the slaughter of majestic bears,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA urges the MoD to end its complicity with bear slaughter and fully evaluate the faux bear fur so it can be quick-marched into service.”

It takes the skin of at least one bear to make a single cap. The MoD has made various claims about where the fur comes from, including that the bears are shot as part of a licensed cull – but PETA has found no evidence that any Canadian province has run any official black bear–culling programmes. In Canada, recreational hunters are granted tags to kill bears for fun, with some selling the fur at auction.


Lucy Watson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]