Thank you for contacting me about the Queen's Guards ceremonial caps.
I am assured that bears are never hunted to order for use by the MOD. Bear pelts that are used for the Queen’s Guards ceremonial caps are the byproducts of a necessary cull, licenced by Canadian authorities as part of a programme to manage the wild bear population, as opposed to fur being harvested from an animal being bred for this sole purpose. Therefore, any reduction in the number of bearskins procured by the MOD would not equate to a reduction in the numbers of bears being culled.
Guardsmen take great pride in wearing the bearskin cap which is an iconic image of Britain. It must look smart but also be practical for the guardsman to wear in wet or dry weather. While I understand that the man-made fabric was passed to an independent testing house and PETA shared these results with the MOD, MOD analysis of the results shows that the faux fur does not in fact reach the standards needed to provide an effective replacement for the caps. The faux fur met only one of the five requirements to be considered as a viable alternative for ceremonial caps.
Whilst it met the basic standard for water absorption, it showed unacceptable rates of water shedding and performed poorly on the visual assessment. As the artificial fur sadly didn't meet the standards required for a ceremonial cap which is worn throughout the year and in all weathers, the MOD has no plans to take this faux fur forward.
Thank you again for contacting me.
Craig Whittaker MP