US animal rights group PETA have teamed up with actor Stephen Fry to campaign against, what they claim, is the unlawful use of bear-skin hats by the famous British King’s Guard. Despite an investigation, the Ministry of Defence claimed the hats were obtained through legal practices.
PETA’s Bear-Boned Revelation
A recent exposé by PETA, a prominent animal rights organization based in the U.S., has called out one royal British tradition for animal cruelty. The group documented hunters in Ontario, Canada, engaging in the practice of bear baiting, leading to an outcry from the public.
This investigation has brought to light the harsh realities of the bearskin industry, leaving many wondering about the ethical implications of using real fur for ceremonial purposes. The footage, which shows hunters luring bears with bait before killing them, has shocked many and led to calls for change.
A Tradition in Question
The black, fluffy hats worn by the King’s Guard during ceremonial events at Buckingham Palace and other locations are iconic. However, the method used to procure the bearskin for these hats is now under scrutiny.
Despite bear baiting being illegal in the U.K. and certain U.S. states, it continues to be used for this purpose. This has led to a growing debate about the balance between maintaining tradition and ensuring ethical treatment of animals.
The use of real bearskin for these hats, a practice that has been in place for over 200 years, is now being questioned by many.
A Plea for Compassion
In response to the revelations, PETA U.K. has initiated a campaign urging the U.K. Ministry of Defense to cease its support of what they term a “cruel industry.”
The campaign, launched with the assistance of renowned British actor Stephen Fry, advocates for the use of faux fur in place of real bearskin. This plea for compassion and change in practices that harm animals for the sake of tradition, so far, has fallen on deaf ears.
Fry also said, “Every day that our soldiers wear hats made from the fur of slaughtered bears brings dishonour to our country.” The campaign calls on the Ministry of Defense to “stop supporting this barbaric industry” and switch to more humane alternatives.
The Faux Fur Proposition
PETA asserts that they have developed a faux fur that fulfils the ministry’s standards. They proposed its use as an alternative in 2017 and again in 2023.
However, they claim that the Ministry of Defense has been resistant to this change. PETA alleges that the Ministry of Defense has “dug in its heels,” refusing to consider the faux fur option.
PETA said in a statement, “It’s time to modernize this iconic symbol of Britain by switching to a fabulous faux fur that has been tested specifically to ensure its suitability for use by the King’s Guard.”
A Celebrity’s Stand
Stephen Fry, in a public statement, expressed his support for the campaign. He said that the U.K.‘s reputation for fair play is at odds with the cruel fate of the bears, who are lured to their demise with no chance of escape.
His words, “Tradition is never an excuse for cruelty,” have resonated with many, amplifying the call for change. Fry further stated, “Britain has always prided itself on being ‘sporting’, but these bears—lured with cookies to the hunters’ hiding place—stand no chance of survival.”
The Cost of Tradition
According to PETA, the production of a single cap for the King’s Guard requires the life of at least one bear. They further reveal that the Ministry of Defense procured 498 bearskin hats between 2017 and 2022.
These figures highlight the stark reality of the cost of tradition, prompting many to question whether such practices should continue in the modern age.
Despite PETA’s investigation, the British Ministry of Defence insisted that the hats are used from bearskin derived from legal practices. “Our Guardsmen take immense pride in wearing the bearskin cap which is an iconic image of Britain, and the quality of sustainability of the caps is incredibly important,” the ministry claimed.
The King’s Guard has donned their traditional headgear for over two centuries. However, in light of recent revelations and growing public sentiment, the Ministry of Defense may need to reconsider its stance on the use of bearskin.
As the debate continues, the future of this centuries-old tradition hangs in the balance.
The post US Animal Rights Group Fights Against Royal British Tradition After Investigation Into Bear Cruelty first appeared on Edge Media.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / William Howard.