Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon, together with PETA UK, has launched a government petition calling on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to replace the bearskins used for the Queen’s Guard’s caps with faux fur.
The petition seeks to reach 100,000 signatures in order to trigger a Parliamentary debate on the issue. Virginia Lewis-Jones, the daughter of the late Dame Vera Lynn – fondly known as the “Forces’ sweetheart” – and former soldier Andy Knott MBE, chief executive of animal welfare charity League Against Cruel Sports, are co-sponsors of the petition.
The action follows the unveiling of the world’s first faux bear fur – created by PETA and luxury faux furrier ECOPEL – which looks and functions exactly like the bearskin used to make the Queen’s Guard’s caps.
“Most British people are against fur, so it makes no sense for this iconic symbol of the UK to be made with real fur still, especially when an indistinguishable faux fur exists,” says Alesha Dixon. “The MoD has the option to retain the a esthetic of the bearskin cap without the cruelty – it must take it.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”– notes that the faux bearskin matches the exact length of the real bearskin and is 100% waterproof, as confirmed by the MoD’s accredited laboratory. Despite the material meeting all of the specifications given to PETA by the MoD, the ministry is falsely claiming otherwise. Furthermore, the MoD has consistently denied faux-fur experts the opportunity to meet and work with capmakers on developing a humane version.
A Freedom of Information request revealed that in the past seven years alone, the MoD spent more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money on 891 bearskin caps – which are ornamental and serve no military purpose. ECOPEL has offered to provide the MoD with faux bear fur free of charge until 2030, meaning the switch would also save the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds.