Queen's guards may ditch bear skin hats


PETA has come up with an alternative to traditonal bearskin hats.

Buckingham Palace guards

Buckingham Palace guards wearing Canadian bear skin hats.

Credit: Wikimedia

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British military chiefs are to meet with an animal rights group on Tuesday to discuss alternatives to the traditional bearskin hats famously worn by the guards at Buckingham Palace.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are to hold talks with Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials to put forward what they say are ethical alternatives to the 46-centimetre tall fur hats worn by army guards.

PETA has previously discussed fake fur alternatives with the MoD but military bosses were unimpressed by the prototypes.

Now PETA has come up with an alternative shape, but insists its design could be as famous as the traditional hats.

"We can still have very regal-looking guards who look fantastic," says PETA's Europe director Robbie LeBlanc.

"We felt doing this kind of thing was a way of keeping with the times and keeping that iconic status."

He said activists had talked to tourists outside Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II's official residence in London, and most did not know the hats were made using fur from Canadian black bears.

"Most people think it's fake fur and when they find out it's real and it takes one bear to make a hat, they are appalled," he says.