The animal rights association Peta announced this Friday, December 9, a legal action against the British Ministry of Defense which refuses to experiment with a faux fur version of the famous bear hair hats worn by the soldiers of the royal guard.
These beanies, known as “bear skins”are notably worn by the army’s elite regiments at the time of the changing of the guard in front of Buckingham Palace and have become one of the most famous symbols of the United Kingdom.
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Peta has long been advocating for them to no longer be adorned with real Canadian black bear hair and has designed an acrylic alternative, made by French company Ecopel.
The Ministry of Defense “refuses to experiment with it, which he had pledged to do many times in recent years”, explains to AFP Kate Werner, member of this association. Peta argues that the government did not follow proper procedures in this case and it is on this element that justice is seized.
“We have been informed that Peta is initiating legal proceedings regarding this matter. We cannot comment specifically on an ongoing case”reacted a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.
A symbol that must “reflect British values”
A few months ago, the government made it known that there was no “no project” to replace bear hair beanies, adding that an analysis of faux fur testing by Peta showed that“She does not meet the necessary criteria” to be able to replace the current caps.
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A conclusion that Peta rejects. “It’s a symbol of the UK but we want it to reflect the values and ethics of our society”explains Kate Werner.
The current Minister of Defense, Ben Wallace, himself a former soldier, is an advocate of bear hair hats. As a deputy, he had defended an amendment for the perpetuation of their use.
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A petition to replace them with fake fur signed by more than 100,000 people had, however, led to a debate in Parliament on the subject.
According to Peta, the use of bear hair creates a market that sustains black bear hunting. ” Bears are not hunted by order of the Ministry of Defense. The bear skins used are the product of legal and authorized hunts, coming exclusively from the regulated Canadian market”argued a spokesperson for the ministry.
The association has written to King Charles III, known for his positions in favor of the defense of nature, without having received a response for the moment. His support “could really help”, underlines Kate Werner. Peta also asks Charles to use a faux fur ermine coat for his coronation in May.