Stop Killing Black Bears for Royal Guards’ Fur Caps


Target: UK Ministry of Defence

Goal: Ask that high quality synthetic materials be used to make helmets to replace bearskin hats made from slaughtered black bears

The Queen’s Royal Guards, with their red suits and iconic tall black hats, are a traditional British image. However, many people may not be aware that the fuzzy tall black hats worn by the UK’s Royal Guards are made from black bear pelts. The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence spends large sums of money importing bear hides from North America. Black bear numbers are decreasing throughout North America, and hunting techniques used to kill them are oftentimes overly cruel. In these modern times, there should be no reason why high quality fake fur cannot be used to replace real bear pelts.

Most of the black bear pelts used for caps in the UK are imported from Canada. The bears are normally killed by hunters, who often use baits to lure bears into areas where they can more easily be shot. An estimated 15% of black bears are not killed immediately after being shot. Many of these bears escape, and later die a lingering death from blood loss or starvation. Some bears are required to be shot more than once before they are killed, making their deaths painful and frightening. In many locations where bears are hunted, there are no rules against shooting mother bears who have cubs. Most cubs, too young to care for themselves, die soon after the death of their mother.

It can take one entire bear hide to create a single guard’s cap. Although the bearskin caps are part of the Royal Guard’s traditional uniform, there is no reason why faux fur caps cannot be created to look just as regal as real bear fur. Ask the UK Ministry of Defence to stop supporting the cruel hunting of North American black bears and to consider the much more humane option of high quality faux fur.


Dear UK Ministry of Defence,

It’s understood that the uniforms of the Queen’s Royal Guards are a part of United Kingdom tradition. However, the black bear pelts used to create the iconic caps are often obtained inhumanly. Many bears, lured in towards hunters with food, must be shot many times before they finally die. Bears who are able to escape suffer greatly before they die from blood loss or starvation. In many of the areas where these bears are hunted,  there are no laws against shooting mother bears with cubs. This means not only must the mother bear die, but her young cubs are abandoned and left to die.

In these modern times, there is no reason why the Queen’s Guards’ caps should not be able to be created from high quality fake fur. Faux fur caps will most likely look so similar to real bear fur hats that most people would not even notice a difference. You have the opportunity to maintain tradition while at the same time helping to end animal cruelty.  Please stop supporting cruel black bear hunters and look into more humane options.


[Your Name Here]

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