Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tradition Bows

Steps forward:
The Ministry of Defence will meet an animal rights group tomorrow to discuss ethical alternatives to the world famous bearskin hats worn by guards at Buckingham Palace.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) will suggest new designs for guardsmen's headgear, which could mean the end of the traditional 45.7cm (18-inch) tall fur hats.

The charity said the MoD was not happy with prototypes for a similar hat. Now it is proposing a new shape is adopted and has approached designers including Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Marc Bouwer. Robbie LeBlanc, Peta's director for Europe, admitted suggesting a new shape was controversial but added that a new design could be "iconic" too.

He said Peta campaigners had spoken to people watching the guards at Buckingham Palace about the use of the skins of Canadian black bears to make their hats.

"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."

LeBlanc said the MoD spent just over £320,000 on bearskin hats in the past five years. Other fur, like the leopardskin aprons worn by ceremonial drummers, has already been replaced with fake versions.

Should Charles become king, I would guess that the hats will go, given Charles work to make the royal household greener. Nobody will notice the new hats.

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