Stephen Fry is advocating for a change in the material used for the iconic bearskin caps worn by the King's Guard during ceremonial duties, such as safeguarding Buckingham Palace.
The renowned actor is supporting an animal welfare initiative pushing for the adoption of faux fur instead of real bear fur in these caps.
"Tradition should never be a justification for cruelty," asserts Mr. Fry, who is lending his voice to a video exposing undercover footage detailing the hunting methods of black bears.
The Ministry of Defence defends the use of bear fur, citing its origin from "legal and licensed hunts."
The towering black bearskin hats are a customary feature at ceremonial military occasions, notably the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
Stephen Fry, known for his environmental advocacy, argues that procuring fur for these caps only encourages the hunting of bears.
The King and other members of the Royal Family are often seen adorned in bearskins during events like Trooping the Colour. However, Mr. Fry advocates for ending the use of wildlife fur in such headwear, advocating the availability of high-quality artificial alternatives.
The actor is narrating a video produced by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), criticizing the "merciless killing of bears by trophy hunters" for their fur used in the King's Guard caps.
Mr. Fry emphasizes that it takes at least one bear to supply enough fur for a single cap, underscoring the magnitude of this issue.
An undercover video obtained by supporters of the animal welfare group portrays hunters luring bears with scented food before shooting them with crossbows. Fry's narration underscores the prolonged suffering of these animals due to infected wounds or blood loss, with their body parts used as trophies and their fur sold.
"By continuing to procure caps made of black bear fur, the UK government perpetuates demand for pelts and effectively incentivizes hunters," states Mr. Fry.
PETA plans to share the footage with King Charles, urging him to support the transition from real fur to synthetic alternatives.
In response, a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman maintains that their bear pelts originate from authorized hunts and a regulated Canadian fur market. The ministry contends that no alternative has yet met the required standards to effectively replace the ceremonial bearskin caps. Photo by Pierre-Yves Beaudouin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0.