Today, 3 June 2019, we saw President Trump meeting the Queen and inspecting the guard of bearskin capped troops on the lawn of Buckingham Palace. I wondered whether this was real bearskin or a synthetic substitute. In fact, I was convinced that this fine display of British regimental army troops were dressed in plastic bearskin hats but no.
Having looked it up on Wikipedia I note that since 1997 the Ministry of Defence have been trying to substitute genuine bearskin for something else which does not cause animal cruelty. That is 22 years ago and they’ve still failed to find a good substitute they say. I am astonished.
Today army officials defend the use of genuine bearskin for the ceremonial hats by saying that 100 are taken annually from a cull of thousands of bears by native Inuit hunters under a Canadian government program to keep their numbers under control. That’s their excuse. It does not make it less cruel and less stupid.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have protested against the use of real fur for the guards’ hats. They say that the animals are killed cruelly. They’ve held demonstrations. As is to be expected they want fur has to be replaced with synthetic materials. They claim that the MoD has not done enough to find alternatives. I completely agree. I 100% agree but then the MoD have a long history of utter failure in procurement and in failing to run to budgets properly.
It’s just another example of governmental failure in the UK which has been going on for a long time.