UK government threatened with legal action over King’s Guard’s fur uniform

Read Time:   |  6th November 2022

The Ministry of Defence is under growing pressure to use faux-fur bear fur for the King’s Guard’s ornamental caps

The UK government is being threatened with legal action over the King’s Guard’s uniform – which currently features bear fur.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been accused of ‘failing to properly consider’ cruelty-free faux-fur alternatives despite previously stating it would ditch real fur if a suitable material was found.

King’s Guard’s uniform row

According to vegan charity PETA, the MoD agreed to adopt faux-fur ornamental caps if the material was waterproof, and had fibres the same length as bear fur.

PETA says it has ‘devoted many years and thousands of pounds to developing and testing’ ECOPEL – a ‘state-of-the-art faux bear fur’ that ‘meets the MoD’s requirements’.

However, it accuses the government of ‘refusing to honour the deal it made’.

‘Unlawful conduct’

“The MoD has repeatedly stated that it will test any faux fur PETA presents to it,” says Lorna Hackett, PETA’s legal counsel from Hackett & Dabbs LLP.

“Most recently in a July 2022 parliamentary debate where the former procurement minister said that it is not wedded to bearskin and again reiterated the principled acceptance that if shown to be an appropriate replacement, faux fur would be adopted.

“Despite this, the MoD has refused to analyse test results that prove the faux fur meets and exceeds the standards. PETA has been left with no choice but to pursue a judicial review on the grounds of unlawful conduct.”

Petition

PETA’s legal threats follows the government’s response to an online petition urging the King’s Guard’s caps are replaced with faux fur.

After exceeding 100,000 signatures, the petition was discussed in Parliament, where the government concluded: “Currently we have no plans to end the use of bearskins. Bear pelts that are used are the by-products of a licensed cull by the Canadian authorities to manage the wild bear population.”

Faux fur is definitely better for the animals, but what effect does it have on the planet? Is faux or real fur better for the environment?

Featured image: Carl Court via Getty Images

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