The black hat debate

Thursday 24th September 2015

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A new campaign has been released targeting the Ministry of Defence for using real skin in Palace Guard hats.

The MoD says that the pelts come from Canadian bears killed during government culls.

In a statement, the MoD said, ‘Over the last 20 years there have been a number of trials of synthetic alternatives to bear pelts which have, to date, proved unsuccessful as nothing has matched the properties of the natural product.

‘The Ministry of Defence does not buy bear pelts – only ceremonial caps.’


Alan Herscovici – Executive Vice-President of the Fur Council of Canada comments:

Black bears are highly abundant across Canada. In fact, a certain number must be culled each year to maintain healthy and stable populations. Sometimes specific bears must also be killed because they persist in coming too close to humans; a number of Canadians are killed each year by black bears.  Since some black bears must killed (to maintain balance with available habitat), we believe that it is ethical to use these animals, rather than waste them. This is consistent with the responsible and sustainable use of renewable natural resources – a central environmental conservation principle that is promoted by the IUCN and all serious conservation authorities. 


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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: A Guard of Honour leaves Buckingham Palace after Queen Elizabeth II returned following the State Opening of Parliament on June 4, 2014 in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the coalition government's legislative programme in a speech delivered to Members of Parliament and Peers in The House of Lords. Proposed legislation is expected to be introduced on a 5p charge for plastic bags in England, funding of workplace pensions, new state-funded childcare subsidy and reforms to speed up infrastructure projects. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)