As far as I know King Charles III wore a genuine bearskin hat at trooping the colour today (17th June 2023) as he led the way on his black horse (Canadian steed ‘Noble’). If so, he is doing his role as the monarch a disservice. This was an opportunity to make a big statement for wildlife conservation by wearing a synthetic bearskin hat made with faux fur which is available. His hat was preposterous tall; taller than usual it seemed. That rubbed salt into the wound as if to make a statement that wearing the bloody thing was okay and I’ll do as I please as the monarch.
The faux fur bearskin substitute looks exactly like the original but according to PETA and ECOPEL it performed as well as and, in some areas, outperformed the real fur hat in laboratory testing.
ECOPEL can make the faux fur hat and has promised to supply them free of charge until 2030 but the Ministry of Defence in the UK (MOD) has resolutely refused to take up the offer.
PETA tells me that the much-admired Secretary of State for Defence (why?) has so far refused to ‘so much as look at the laboratory report, seemingly desperate to cling to a dated tradition’.
The MOD are terrible managers of the armed forces it seems to me with hugely costly failed procurement programs. Billions of pounds have been wasted over the years.
The MOD has spent over £1 million on bearskin hats in 7 years. It takes one black bear to make one bearskin hat as a small section of their skin is used from the neck.
These are Canadian black bears and the Canadian hunters can kill them in a variety of ways from rifles to bow and arrow. They can even use spears! A surefire way to cause a slow and painful death.
The whole process is bloody and backward. It is unnecessary so why do soldiers still wear these awful bearskins?
Mother bears and their cubs are often killed while foraging for food as bears are difficult to sex on sight. It really is time to end this tradition which is well passed its sell-by-date.