London, July 22 (ANI): The Queen's Guards at Buckingham Palace may soon be wearing designer Stella McCartney's faux-fur version of the real bearskin hats, if the Ministry of Defence in UK agrees with it.
The Army's Guards regiments have for almost two centuries been fitted out with the real bearskin hats on ceremonial occasions, and they are one of the main tourists attraction in Britain.
"Historically, England has a very high regard for animals, so it makes perfect sense that the MoD should continue shedding ceremonial furs from uniforms," the Telegraph quoted McCartney as saying.
"Initially the big bear fur hats were intended to make soldiers look taller as they marched over hills in battle, but they haven't been worn in action for over a hundred years.
"I've been working on this with PETA for a few years now and am really happy with the final product, as I hope the MoD will be when they see it," she stated.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has set up a meeting with Peter Luff, minister for defence equipment, support and technology, to propose their animal-friendly alternative.
It claims the plastic-fibre hat now meets rigorous Ministry of Defence water repellence tests, after years working on a technology called Bear28, and the hats are also fitted with air vents to keep wearers cool on parade.
Dan Matthews, senior vice-president at the animal rights group, claims it is a "win-win situation" as the synthetic hats were cheaper than real bearskins, 230 grams lighter "and the bears will certainly be happier".
The MoD said it "remains open" to new ideas, but stressed that it would not be chucking out the original bearskins anytime soon.
"The MoD remains open to testing material that industry might offer us to assess whether a faux fur meets the requirements for a replacement bearskin hat material," an MoD spokesperson said.
"So far industry has not been able to produce a suitable material to meet the Guards' requirements.
"All bearskins used in the UK are sourced from Canada where bears are culled under the direction of the Canadian government to keep the bear population under control," the spokesperson added. (ANI)