Bear Fur Hats

There are no plans to change the ceremonial uniform or the bearskin cap which has been associated with the Guards Division since the 18th century.

The Government has examined various alternative materials in the past, but none has come remotely close to matching the natural properties of bear fur in terms of shape, weight and its ability to repel moisture in wet conditions.

The black bear is culled in large numbers each year by the Canadian authorities because the population is dangerously high. UK suppliers take only 100 pelts a year and that is a fraction of the number culled. The Ministry of Defence buys ceremonial caps direct from suppliers. Animal welfare standards relating to the bear cull are a matter for the Canadian Government.

 

Constituents may be interested to know that in 2012 the Ministry of Defence loaned a sample bearskin to the animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, to aid its research and development programme on a synthetic alternative.