Shoot Bears Only Through a Lens, Wildlife Photographers Tell MoD

Shoot Bears Only Through a Lens, Wildlife Photographers Tell MoD

London – Andy Parkinson, Megan McCubbin, and Aaron Gekoski are among the wildlife photographers who have added their names to a letter sent on PETA’s behalf to Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace calling on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to stop funding the slaughter of black bears for the Queens Guard’s caps.

As the photographers note in their letter (available here), the bears whose fur is used for the caps are often killed in gruesome ways – and some are mothers, whose cubs are left to starve. These deaths are particularly senseless given that luxury faux furrier ECOPEL, in partnership with PETA, has created the world’s first faux bear fur – which matches the exact length of real bear fur and meets all the criteria outlined by the MoD. In fact, according to an assessment conducted by a leading fabric technologist, the performance of the faux fur 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, saving a significant amount of taxpayer money.

“These photographers have the big picture in focus: the only way bears should be shot is through a lens,” says PETA Vice President Elisa Allen. “PETA urges the MoD to swap out the horrific bearskin caps for ones made from the free faux fur and save lives along with taxpayer money.”

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, a zoologist and TV presenter, 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.

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


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]