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I and many of my fellow Scottish National Party (SNP) MPs have joined forces with PETA UK - People for Ethical Treatment of Animals - to keep pressure on the UK Government to stop the use of bears' fur on the caps worn by five regiments of the British Foot Guards, including the Scots' Guards.

For each one of the caps worn by the Foot Guards, a bear is cruelly killed by being shot or ensnared, sometimes for days, in a painful trap – and people across the UK, the overwhelming majority of whom object to killing animals for fur, are unwittingly paying for it through their taxes.

For nearly two centuries, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has waged war on black bears while doing almost nothing to further the search for materials to replace the use of their skins.

PETA and luxury faux furrier ECOPEL have revealed the world’s first faux bear fur that is virtually indistinguishable from the real bearskins used to make the King’s Guard’s caps.

The MoD said it has five requirements for a faux-bearskin cap, and the ministry’s copyrighted tests and a fabric technologist with 25 years of experience confirm that ECOPEL’s faux bear fur meets them all. There’s no reason why the cruelly obtained fur used for the caps can’t be replaced with this viable option that’s fit for the 21st century.

The high-performing faux bear fur would retain the aesthetic of the iconic cap, giving a nod to tradition while preventing sensitive bears from being viciously slaughtered for their fur. It is also more eco-friendly. Real fur must be treated with toxic chemicals to prevent it from decomposing – in this case, on the guards’ heads. ECOPEL’s faux fur is produced in closed-loop factories, which means all water and chemicals used in the production of the faux fur are recycled.

I and many of my SNP colleagues have undersigned the below to the Minister of State for Defence Procurement urging an end to completely unnecessary use of bears' skin for these caps.

The text of this letter is as below

Dear Minister

We the undersigned members of Parliament representing Scotland write regarding the bearskin caps worn by the five regiments of the British Foot Guards.

While we strongly urge the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to replace all the bearskin used for the caps with faux fur, we specifically demand that the Scots Guards’ caps be replaced with a modern, humane alternative.

Scottish people’s morals and values are not reflected in the use of the current ornamental caps made from the fur of slaughtered Canadian bears. Polls show that the vast majority of our constituents reject fur – and, in fact, according to a recent survey, only 11% of people in Scotland support the use of real fur for these ceremonial caps. Furthermore, 79% think spending money on real fur for the caps is a poor use of government funds.

We understand that a viable faux fur has been created by the luxury faux furrier ECOPEL and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that meets your department’s five criteria and even outperforms bearskin in certain areas. The faux fur is less expensive than bear fur and is being offered free of charge by ECOPEL until 2030. Using it will save taxpayer money and help close the market for bear fur, thereby removing an incentive for hunters to kill black bears in Canada.

The Guards’ cap has seen many incarnations over the years, and while the look of today’s towering cap is iconic, the material it’s made from is most certainly not. Replacing the bearskin with faux fur would allow the history of the caps to endure in a way that reflects modern society’s respect for wildlife. We would be very pleased for Scotland to lead the charge and for our guards to pioneer this humane, modern cap.

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