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Reported In THE BUCHAREST DAILY NEWS:

Brit guards' bearskin hats may be banned

AP

A British lawmaker is gathering support for his call to ban the towering bearskin hats worn for almost 200 years by the red-coated soldiers who guard the country's royal palaces.

The motion, introduced by Labour party lawmaker Chris Mullin in March, declares the hats made from the fur of Canadian black bears "have no military significance and involve unnecessary cruelty."

Conservative lawmaker Ann Widdecombe has now urged her party to support the motion aimed at replacing the bearskins with artificial substitutes.

"Black bears, who are intelligent and curious animals, are slaughtered in Canada so that their skins may be used for ceremonial hats," Widdecombe wrote in a letter to her party colleagues on Thursday.

Widdecombe's letter was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

So far, 180 of 646 lawmakers in the House of Commons have signed the motion.

On Sunday, about 100 animal rights activists staged a naked demonstration in London to protest against the hats.

The royal guards who wear the foot-tall black bearskin hats, bright red tunics and white gloves are one of the most recognizable symbols of Britian. Tourists flock to Buckingham Palace, the queen's London home, to watch the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony.

An army spokesman said officials have been searching for an alternative and have tested a false fur that was hot and tended to matte in rainy weather, durable and rich bearskin is preferred.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department policy, said the army also strives to repair instead of replace its 2,500 hats.

"Not a single bear is killed (solely) to make a bearskin hat," the army spokesman said. "Both governments in the United States and Canada have policies to keep the bear population under control."

Canadian black bears are not an endangered species.

The Defense Ministry buys 50 to 100 bearskin pelts a year to outfit its five regiments wearing them. One complete bearskin hat costs $1,197 and can last up to 40 years.

END OF ARTICLE

Maybe we could sell you some Romanian Bearskin from Brasov, where we have a small bear problem, they tend to wander into town at night and have attacked people, while on a night out!! :unsure:

Kevin in Deva :beer:

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Definitely let's ship about 100 nuisance black bears over to England. Dump them in the protestors' neighbourhoods. After they have called for help, send in the animal control boys, who will put the bears down, and then the pelts will already be in England for manufacturing new bearskins. :)

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Definitely let's ship about 100 nuisance black bears over to England. Dump them in the protestors' neighbourhoods. After they have called for help, send in the animal control boys, who will put the bears down, and then the pelts will already be in England for manufacturing new bearskins. :)

NOW THATS AN IDEA... maybe we could house the bears with old whashername "ms iditcome MP" :unsure:

Kevin in Deva :beer:

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As a long time tree hugger I have no problem with culling the bear population. A bullet in the head is much better than slow starvation. Naked demonstration? Considering the average age of protestors, at least over here, might have been interesting :cool:

Edited by Tom Y
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Naked demonstration? Considering the average age of protestors, at least over here, might have been interesting :cool:

It's all a misunderstanding. It was bearskins they were protesting, not bare skins.

Sort of like that Second Amendment thing in the States about the right to bare arms.

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It's all a misunderstanding. It was bearskins they were protesting, not bare skins.

Sort of like that Second Amendment thing in the States about the right to bare arms.

I thought the Second Annulment gave them the right to arm bears!

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's always sad to see old military traditions being brought down. That has happened a lot here in Finland lately, and even though our examples aren't as old as the British, it still is quite shameful.

I like animals as much as the next guy, and hate to see them being treated cruely and in a useless manner. But is this really an example of such behaviour? Are those hats really so bad? It's hard to see them resulting the extinction of the black bear population. They probably won't go out and kill a bear in extremely cruel manner every time it looks like a new hat is being needed, or do they? Don't these lawmakers have any actual, bigger, and more acute problems to be concerned of? Glad to see this happens outside Finland too! :P

And how come they really can't come up with an effective alternative to that bearskin? Come on, it's the 21st century. Hell, the man has walked on the moon but still we can't manufacture fake-fur that has the characteristics of bearskin? :unsure:

Can anyone think of a defense contractor with a product that lasts forty years on active service?

When I did my military service in 1998, I was issued a 1939 dated mess-kit. And it really looked like it had gone through the war. No to mention the funny taste. But that wasn't necessarily the kit's fault. :lol:

Pete

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It's true, ya know: we do kill them cruelly! They're live trapped, taken to Ottawa and chained in the back row of the House of Commons during debates on defence spending asnd reforms to the Tax Act. If that doesn't kill them, they're forced to follow a politician around the rubber chicken re-election circuit and listen to the same speech as many times as it takes!

Don - on a serious note, I agree that tradition is no defence. Another site I haunt - bootmakers, mostly Texan - was bemoaning the loss of "good" ostrich skins - the ones where the feathers are plucked BEFORE the birds are killed 'cause it creates bigger "bumps" in the hide. That's a crime! I don't eat veal or pate foi gras either. But, as Michael points out, the bears get shot anyway as nusiances or for sport, so at least using the skin makes some use of the carcass and maybe feeds some guide or trapper's kids.

My tuppence worth

peter

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