Bearskin caps are no laughing matter, says Gervais
Sunday, 14 December 2008
The comedian Ricky Gervais has asked the Prime Minister to prod the Ministry of Defence with a stick over over the bearskin hats worn by the Guards regiments. The comedian says the MoD is dragging its feet over replacing the fur used to make the hats.
"Your MoD advisers claim that this can only happen when a 'suitable synthetic alternative' can be found. Please know that the MoD have sung this song for years," he wrote to Mr Brown last week.
In his letter Mr Gervais calls on the PM to intervene personally: "If killing bears for ceremonial caps is cruel, how can we justify allowing it to continue? As long as bears are shot for the caps, the MoD must surely be compelled to establish a timeline of some urgency within which they will phase [them] out. Would your office be so good as to prod them with a stick?"
The Prime Minister recently wrote to Mr Gervais, pledging his personal support over calls for a ban on bearskins. "I can completely understand your feelings. I was also very surprised when I first learned that these caps were still made using real fur, and I very much agree that this practice should be ended as soon as a suitable alternative can be found," he said.
Designers such as Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood have offered their help to animal campaigners in the search for a replacement, but this has yet to be taken up by the Ministry of Defence. Up to 100 black bears are killed each year to provide fur for the hats, which have cost the MoD more than £321,000 over the past five years.I would like to see this practice stopped right now. Or we go the whole hog and show the world that we kill wild bears and wear their skins on our soldiers heads with a new version of the hat - Going from this, the traditional....