EXCLUSIVE Fur flies as animal rights activists accuse King’s Guards of ‘greenwashing’ for still wearing genuine Canadian bearskin caps instead of fake alternatives
- MoD says ‘no faux fur meets the standards to provide an effective replacement’
The King’s Guards are still donning Canadian bearskin caps as ‘greenwashing’ defence officials have used a ‘meaningless’ ethics scheme to ignore suitable faux fur options, animal rights campaigners have claimed.
The Ministry of Defence, who pledged to drop fur once an alternative was found, have now revealed their use of a controversial fur industry marketing scheme to justify the continuing use of fur in the uniform.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have accused officials of using ‘Furmark’ a scheme branded ‘meaningless’ by former British Fur Trade Association CEO Mike Moser – to give off the impression they are adhering to animal welfare standards.
In a letter to PETA last month seen by the Mail, the MoD’s equipment team said: ‘The furs used by the MOD are only procured via local Canadian suppliers with a ‘Furmark’ accreditation.
‘This is a global certification and traceability system for natural furs that guarantees animal welfare and environmental standards, and in turn, ensures the ethical sourcing and sustainability of the fur.’
Mr Biden and the King inspect the guard of honour formed by the Welsh Guards at Windsor Castle
The King’s Guards are still donning Canadian bearskin caps as ‘greenwashing’, animal rights campaigners have claimed
President Biden walks in front of the King as they inspect the Welsh Guards at Windsor Castle
This is the first time the MoD have mentioned using Furmark.
But campaigners have suggested the accreditation is just ‘another attempt at greenwashing’. In 2021, Respect for Animals concluded in a report: ‘Furmark® – the fur industry’s ‘certification’, traceability and labelling scheme – lacks transparency and credibility and fails to address the environmental impacts of the fur industry.’
The MoD has also claimed that ‘whilst faux fur samples have been presented for testing in the past, to date, and to the Department’s knowledge, no faux fur sample has been produced which meets the standards required to provide an effective replacement for the bearskin ceremonial caps.’
However, PETA say they have worked with luxury faux furrier ECOPEL to develop a suitable material that is waterproof and mimics real bear fur in both appearance and performance.
Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner said: ‘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.
‘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.’
In October the group laid 498 cut outs to represent the Canadian black bears killed since PETA and ECOPEL made their faux fur offer in 2017.
The Ministry of Defence, who pledged to drop fur once an alternative was found, have now revealed their use of a controversial fur industry marketing scheme
In February the MoD stated, ‘currently we have no plans to end the use of bearskins’, saying ‘Guardsmen take great pride’ in wearing the current cap which is an ‘iconic image of Britain
The MoD has claimed ‘no faux fur sample has been produced which meets the standards required to provide an effective replacement for the bearskin ceremonial caps’
Animal rights lobby group Peta has threatened the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with legal action in a row over replacing the King’s Guards’ bearskin caps with a faux fur alternative
Last year a poll revealed that three quarters of voters considered bearskin caps – which have cost the taxpayer around £1million since 2015 – a ‘bad use of government funds’, with each cap costing £1,710.
Last night the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation said: ‘It’s appalling that it can take the entire hide of one Canadian black bear to make just one cap.
‘Luxury faux fur manufacturer ECOPEL has created the world’s first faux fur that looks identical to the animal-fur cap and is easily rendered 100% waterproof. It has met all of the MoD’s requirements. We urge for the MoD to adopt the new caps.
‘We believe there is no justification to continue using the fur of Canadian black bears for the ornamental caps, when an excellent alternative exists.
‘They cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands every year and using real fur conflicts with public opinion on this issue.’
An MoD spokesperson said: ‘Bears are not hunted to order for the Ministry of Defence and bear pelts used are a product of legal and licensed hunts.
‘To date and to the Department’s knowledge, an alternative has yet to meet the standards required to provide an effective replacement for the bearskin ceremonial caps.’
President Biden walks in front of King Charles as the pair inspect the Welsh Guards at Windsor Castle
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