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Home » 100 bears killed every year to make iconic King’s Guard hats

100 bears killed every year to make iconic King’s Guard hats

100 bears killed every year to make iconic King’s Guard hats

The British Royal Guard will continue to use black bear fur for its traditional and colourful hats, despite complaints from several animal rights NGOs, who have been calling for years to use synthetic fur instead of natural ones. The revelation that 100 bears are killed each year to make the King’s Guard hats has angered people.

According to LADbible, each year the British Army imports up to 100 bearskins to create these highly water-resistant ceremonial hats. And while numerous iconic designers, like Stella McCartney, have offered to create a sustainable, cruelty-free alternative, no such move has been made.

In fact, tall fur hats are known by the simple name “bearskin.” Specifically, the hats are made from Canadian black bears.

Hatter buys 100 black bear skins each year

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense has stated that “any attempt to replace the hats leads to ‘unacceptable rates of spillage of water on the heads of soldiers'”.

The hats themselves often referred to as “caps” by the military, were first worn by British soldiers in 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo. The standard hat comes in at a whopping 18 inches although, according to British Heritage, it weighs a mere 1.5 pounds.

So if you ever worried that the poor guards had to hold a huge weight on their heads, fear not.

The British Army buys the headdresses, known as bonnets, from a British milliner who obtains his furs from an international auction. The hatter buys between 50 and 100 black bear skins each year at a cost of around £650 each.

In July 2022, Parliament discussed the issue, and in an official statement, State Defense Procurement Minister Jeremy Quinn concluded that: “Our analysis of recent tests conducted on a synthetic fur fabric commissioned by PETA showed that it met one of the five requirements to be considered a viable alternative to ceremonial headgear.”

“While it met the basic standard for water absorption, it showed unacceptable rates of water shedding and performed poorly on the visual assessment. As the man-made fur, unfortunately, did not meet the required standards for a ceremonial cap worn year-round and in all climates, the Ministry of Defense has no plans to move forward with this man-made fabric.”

This is how you saw Royal Guard

The members of the Royal Guard wear tall and very conspicuous hats, something that was thought so that the infantry in the confrontations in the different battles made them look more fearsome and tall.

These same hats were already used in the Napoleonic wars and Napoleon’s Imperial Guard also came to wear them. They are called ‘bearskin’ hats because they are actually made from the skin of Canadian black bears. They usually weigh almost a kilo.

These hats must be over 18 inches tall and are known as bearskins. A fact that for a lover of ecology and care for the environment like Carlos III, it is possible that it will be modified.

The red colour of the uniforms is due to the fact that the dye was cheaper, in addition to being battle uniforms, the blood was less noticeable in that colour.

Soldiers are allowed to shout “make way for the queen’s guards” in case there are tourists in front of them. If even so, people do not heed or understand the order, they are allowed to push peopleIf any tourists act aggressive towards them, they can point their rifle at them.

The ceremony known as the changing of the guard takes place outside the palace building but inside its gates. So you can see the changing of the guard without paying admission from 10.30 in the morning every day. On Thursday, the day Queen Elizabeth II died, it was cancelled.

Social media

In the past decades, there have been many protests and calls to stop killing bears for hats. Now people on social media are outraged that the tradition is still being followed instead of keeping up with the times.

King Guard hats
King Guard hats
King Guard hats

One person wrote: “Culling, trapping, hunting. The choice of words with practically the same meaning. Killing. Killing for sport and vanity.”

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