LondonNet News Headlines
12/03/03
Bad Hair Day for Bearskins
- Soldiers' furry hats are 'cruel' says animal welfare group

ANIMAL rights activists are gunning for the famous bearskin headgear worn by guards in Royal ceremonies and at the gates of Buckingham Palace.

"It takes one entire bear to make one of these caps and these bears are killed in unimaginably cruel ways," said Sean Gifford of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals group (PETA). "Some are caught in leg traps where they'll languish for up to three days before somebody comes along and puts a bullet in their head."

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) countered the call to abandon its traditional hats with the argument that the Canadian bears are not killed specifically for their skins but are culled to protect other wildlife.

Nevertheless, perhaps surprisingly, the military have looked at alternatives to natural bearskin in the face of the animal rights protests, but say they have yet to find man-made material that does an acceptable job.

"It looks like a 60s Beatle wig. It just doesn't look right and if the wind blows it sticks up," said an MoD spokesperson of the artificial-fibre hats. "The rain soaks into the fibre and it ends up an extremely heavy piece of sodden material on somebody's head. In hot electrical conditions, all the hair will stand up - a really bad hair day."





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