British actor Stephen Fry and animal welfare campaigners on Wednesday demanded that soldiers of the King’s Guard stop using real fur in their tall bearskin hats.
The soldiers wear the bear pelt headwear, known as a busby, for ceremonial events and when they fill guard posts outside Buckingham Palace.
“In Canada, black bears are mercilessly killed by trophy hunters. Their fur may then be used to make the caps worn by the King’s Guard. Purely ornamental headgear that serves no military purpose,” Fry said.
“The bears are baited with buckets filled with bagels, biscuits, and oil, making them easy targets,” he added.
Fry narrated a graphic online video for animal welfare organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) showing a mutilated black bear in Canada. The hunters first bait black bears with buckets of food before shooting them with a crossbow.
The actor called for the government to replace bear fur with fake fur: “Tradition is never an excuse for cruelty.” He added that a failure to switch to faux fur “would be unconscionable – and un-British.”
“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,” a spokesperson of Britain’s Ministry of Defence said.
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