Picture: PA).
Army

Stage set for British Army bearskins debate after petition gets 100,000+ signatures

Picture: PA).

The House of Commons will debate the use of real fur for bearskin hats by the Queen's Guards after 106,361 people signed a petition against them.

Monday 11 July will see the topic discussed in Westminster Hall after TV personality Alesha Dixon started the campaign against taxpayer money funding "slaughter".

Faux fur should be used as an alternative, the e-petition states, as a waterproof alternative has been produced that mimics the fur currently used for the ceremonial headgear.

According to the petition, there is "no excuse" for the current practice, although the Government currently has no plans to halt the process and says the alternative doesn't meet military standards.

"According to PETA, it takes the skin of at least one bear to make a single cap," the petition said.

"There are concerns that some of the bears whose fur is used for this headgear are shot several times by hunters and can endure slow painful deaths.

"It is unconscionable to continue to spend taxpayers' money (£1m in the last seven years) on a product that 93% of British people refuse to wear.

"The MOD (Ministry of Defence) is not exempt from the ethical standards of the rest of society. For this national symbol to endure in a way that embodies modern society, it must be replaced with faux fur."

Military guards in bearskins during Trooping the Colour (Picture: Alamy).
Military guards in bearskins during Trooping the Colour (Picture: Alamy).

Ahead of the debate, the Government responded: "Bear pelts that are used are the by-products of a licensed cull by the Canadian authorities to manage the wild bear population."

"Bears are never hunted to order for use by the MOD," it added.

The response also claimed the proposed fake fur "showed unacceptable rates of water shedding and performed poorly on the visual assessment."

"MOD do use man-made alternatives in their uniforms where these provide suitable, affordable and sustainable alternative to animal products. For example the smaller busby hats worn by the King's Troop are made from faux fur.

"Unfortunately, there is currently no non-animal alternative available that meets the essential criterion for the Queen's Guards ceremonial caps."