Military guards in bearskins during Trooping the Colour CREDIT 080619 CREDIT ALAMY
The bearskin hat, synonymous with British foot guard regiments, are also worn by several armies around the world, exclusively for ceremonial purposes (Picture: ALAMY).
Army

Army's bearskin hats to stay as man-made alternative fails to meet standard

Animal rights organisation PETA teamed up with a faux furrier to create an artificial and humane version, which they claimed was identical.

Military guards in bearskins during Trooping the Colour CREDIT 080619 CREDIT ALAMY
The bearskin hat, synonymous with British foot guard regiments, are also worn by several armies around the world, exclusively for ceremonial purposes (Picture: ALAMY).

The British Army will continue to use bearskin hats after testing found a man-made fabric replacement, proposed by animal rights charity PETA, "didn't meet the standards required".

According to Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin, there are "no plans" to replace the ceremonial caps, after analysis on the man-made alternative only met "one of the five requirements to be considered as a viable alternative".

Mr Quin was answering a parliamentary question from Scottish National Party MP Martyn Day about the quality of the new faux bear fur that had been manufactured as an alternative to real bear fur.

The testing revealed it met the basic standard for water absorption but showed "unacceptable rates of water-shedding" and performed poorly on the visual assessment.

With the ceremonial hat being worn throughout the year and in all weathers, the MOD decided it could not take the man-made fabric forward.

Of the 14 nations around the world using bearskins as part of ceremonial uniform, few have made the leap to using synthetic materials instead of real fur – Italy and Sweden are two exceptions.

Due to bear population control measures, thousands of wild black bears are culled annually with approximately 20,000 "legally harvested".

The supplier of the ceremonial bearskin cap to the Ministry of Defence takes about 100 skins to be used for new uniforms.

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