An animal welfare organization went to court to test bearskin-free hats in the UK

Animal rights group PETA announced on Friday that it would take legal action against the British Ministry of Defense for refusing to test a fake fur version of the traditional bearskin hats worn by ceremonial guards.

The tall black hats worn by elite regiments, including during the changing of the guard ceremony in front of Buckingham Palace, are one of the most recognizable symbols of the United Kingdom.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which campaigns to end the use of Canadian black bear skin in traditional clothing, has created a prototype of a hat made from the furry acrylic material.

“After a fair assessment of the precedent, we are seeking judicial intervention so that the Ministry of Defense fully assesses the report and makes a fresh decision,” said Lorna Hackett, a lawyer for the organization.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which campaigns to end the use of Canadian black bear skin in traditional clothing, has created a prototype hat made from the furry acrylic material.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which campaigns to end the use of Canadian black bear skin in traditional clothing, has created a hat prototype made from furry acrylic material Photo: BEN STANSALL / STF

“They’re refusing to test him, which they’ve been promising to do for years,” PETA campaign director Kate Werner told AFP.

PETA submitted the fake fur for tests at a laboratory accredited by the ministry and says it meets the required criteria for resistance to shrinkage and water.

“We have received a legal request regarding this matter and cannot comment specifically on ongoing legal proceedings,” a Defense Ministry spokesperson said.

Earlier this year, the government announced it had “no plans” to make any changes, saying the faux fur recommended by PETA “does not meet the standards necessary to provide an effective replacement for our ceremonial bearskin hats.”

PETA has urged King Charles III to switch from ermine to faux fur for next year’s coronation.

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