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Friday, November 19, 2021

Government obstinacy contributing to the slaughter of Canadian black bears

It was very difficult to read this article in the Independent in which some faceless apparatchik defends the slaughter of black bears in Canada to fuel their appetite for the ceremonial caps worn by the Queen's Guard, on the grounds that the synthetic version is not as good as the real thing.

The paper says that the government spent more than £1m of taxpayer money in seven years on bear fur hats for the military, despite the fact that they are made from the skins of Canadian black bears, which often suffer slow deaths after being shot. 

Acccording to Peta, at least one bear is killed for each hat made – or more if a mother with cubs is targeted. From 2014 to 2019, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) bought a total of 891 caps for the Queen’s Guard. Peta estimate that up to 1,000 bears could have died in the process of making these hats::

The MoD purchases cost £1,076,149 in total over the seven years.

The department told Peta that last year it bought 110 bearskin caps at a cost of £145,000. Previous purchases, according to Freedom of Information Act replies, were:

2019: 92 caps, costing £127,440 2018: 61 caps, costing £76,206 2017: 172 caps, costing £201,071 2016: 207 caps, costing £240,382 2015: 122 caps, costing £149,379 2014: 127 caps, costing £136,671

A faux-fur company based in France, Ecopel, has offered to provide the MoD with artificial bear fur free of charge until 2030.

As mayor of London six years ago, Boris Johnson said he would be open to using fake fur hats if it might “help save a few bears”, according to The Telegraph.

During black bear hunts, up to one in seven escapes wounded and dies slowly from blood loss or starvation, Peta says.

And if a nursing mother bear is killed, entire families die because the cubs cannot fend for themselves.

Designer Stella McCartney has previously offered to create new faux fur hats for the MoD, but it’s believed her offer was declined.

Peta senior campaigns manager Kate Werner said: “There is no excuse for the Ministry of Defence to continue funding the slaughter of black bears – and the prime minister must put a stop to it.

“The humane, high-performing faux fur created by Ecopel gives a nod to tradition while preventing sensitive bears from being viciously slaughtered for their fur.”

And where is the 'environmentalist' Prince Charles in all this? These hats are being made for ceremonial guards protecting the royal family.

Apparently, buying real animal fur is still legal in the UK, even though the government has come under intense pressure to outlaw imports. Fur farms are banned in Britain. 

It is time for the UK Government to act to stop this cruel trade by opting for synthetic materials instead of real fur.

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