No bear should be hunted or killed to order for use by the Ministry of Defence. It's time for the UK Government to conduct a review of the Queen’s Guard’s caps.
This afternoon Parliament will be debating the use of real bearskin hats by the Queen’s Guards after an e-petition on the subject garnered 106,362 signatures but unfortunately, I will not be able to speak in this afternoon’s debate.
Many constituents will be aware that ECOPEL has offered to supply the Ministry of Defence with its faux fur alternative free-of-charge until 2030. However, the Government has stated that its analysis of recent testing of this material showed it met only one of the five requirements it considers necessary to be a viable alternative and it has no plans to take it forward as a replacement for the bearskin used in these caps.
It has further stated that its suppliers source pelts made available by the Canadian authorities following a licensed cull to manage the wild bear population, and that there are strict laws and regulations to protect against unlawful trade in black bears within Canada and internationally.
I am supportive of our armed forces and I believe that as a country we should strive to set the highest animal welfare standards. As such I share the concerns about the use of bearskins by the military.
No bear should be hunted or killed to order for use by the Ministry of Defence. Now is the time for the UK Government to conduct a review of the Queen’s Guard’s caps, examining contracts, looking at costs and assessing cruelty free, sustainable alternatives.
A future Labour Government would ensure that any such review would speak to our troops and ensure their views are part of any future decisions.
Furthermore, there is nothing currently in law to stop farmed fur from being imported and sold in the UK. I know that a majority of people in the UK support the banning of importing and selling animal fur in the UK.
I do not think we should be complicit in this cruel and inhumane practice, and I believe that we should ban the importation of fur all together. There should not be a fur trade that relies upon the suffering of animals abroad.