Today a delegation from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) is meeting Peter Luff, a British minister for defence equipment, support and technology. What for? To propose their animal-friendly alternative to the Queen’s Guards traditional bearskin hats. It is a tradition that has been around since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, but if PETA and Stella McCartney have anything to say about it, they may soon be wearing synthetic versions made out of a plastic-fibre version called Bear28.
McCartney told the Telegraph that: “Historically, England has a very high regard for animals, so it makes perfect sense that the Ministry of Defense should continue shedding ceremonial furs from uniforms. Initially the big bear fur hats were intended to make soldiers look taller as they marched over hills in battle, but they haven’t been worn in action for over a hundred years.
“I’ve been working on this with Peta for a few years now and am really happy with the final product, as I hope the Ministry of Defense will be when they see it.”
Peta claim that a material switch is a “win-win situation” with the Bear28 hats would be cheaper than the real bearskin and 230 grams lighter.
But in traditional political style, the Ministry of Defense spokesperson says that they would not be quick to change the tradition as the hats are worn infrequently and need little maintenance.
She said: “The MoD remains open to testing material that industry might offer us to asses whether a faux fur meets the requirements for a replacement bearskin hat material. So far industry has not been able to produce a suitable material to meet the Guards’ requirements.”
“All bearskins used in the UK are sourced from Canada where bears are culled under the direction of the Canadian government to keep the bear population under control.”
What do you think of the idea to change from the traditional bearskin hats to a synthetic Bear28 material?