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AGAIN With the "Poor Bears" and Bearskins in UK

Gunner

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Naked demo against bearskin hats 

Animal welfare activists have staged a naked protest against the bearskin hats worn by Buckingham Palace guards.  The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) were calling for the Queen and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to end the "massacre of black bears".  The 70 protesters, most of whom wore nothing but bear masks, claim the bears are slaughtered in Canada to make the famous headgear. The protest was at St Peters Hill, near St Paul's Cathedral, in central London.

Some of the protesters held signs stating Bears Slaughtered for the Queen's Guards - Indefensible.  The demonstration lasted about 20 minutes and was meant to symbolise a pile of dead bears. People from as far away as Australia, Poland, Spain, Hungary and Sweden were among those taking part.

Peta's Anita Singh claimed said at the protest: "People wanted to show how passionate they are about this cause. Sometimes drastic things call for drastic measures. "Showing their vulnerable side depicts exactly what these bears go through. They are naked, they are vulnerable, and we are killing them. It is indefensible cruelty. If you walk up and down the British high street you would be hard-pressed to find a reputable retailer selling fur because there is such a social stigma attached to it."

Fake fur

The MoD said attempts to find an alternative had so far proved unsuccessful, but it was continuing to search for something to replace the bearskin. Lieutenant Colonel Peter Dick-Peter said fake fur did not have the same qualities as the real thing. "It looks like a 60s Beatle wig. It just doesn't look right and if the wind blows it sticks up. The rain soaks into the fibre and it ends up an extremely heavy piece of sodden material on somebody's head."

The towering black hats date back almost 200 years and are a familiar sight outside Buckingham Palace and in ceremonies such as Trooping the Colour. They were first worn in 1815 in recognition of the defeat at Waterloo of Napoleon's French Imperial Guard, who also wore bearskins

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/5002082.stm
 

Michael Dorosh

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We wanted to replace the fake leopard skins for our drummers and decided to go with a Black Bear skin for bass and tenor drummers. But - Alberta Fish and Wildlife provided the pelts from roadkill.

I know that we issue licenses to hunt bears in Canada; I also know bears are put down or killed accidentally (a mauling near Banff just provoked such an incident).  How many bears a year does the British Army go through? I can't imagine there are that many.

Though I have to wonder who would name their child Peter Dick-Peter....
 

davidk

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There was an article similar to this in the Montreal Gazette about two months ago. IIRC, about 70 Canadian Black Bears are killed every year by various means (hunting, accidental deaths, put down, etc.) The MoD just has good contacts with whoever handles this sort of thing, I guess Parks Canada. They pay a token fee for the fur, but do not go out of their way to kill more bears if the yield falls short.
 

George Wallace

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Gunner said:
They were first worn in 1815 in recognition of the defeat at Waterloo of Napoleon's French Imperial Guard, who also wore bearskins.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/5002082.stm


I don't know?  It sounds like a French plot to finally defeat a Regiment that was instrumental in defeating Napoleon.  My God!  Won't these vendetta's ever end?

Time to put my Tinfoil Hat back on.

I'm OK now.
 

The Bread Guy

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According to this (lefty) media account, the real bear - from Canada, no less - is back, baby!

Shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act - http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/info/act-e.html#rid-33409

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article1089675.ece

Hundreds of black bears face slaughter after Army abandons trial of synthetic fur for Guards' ceremonial headgear
Cahal Milmo, The Independent, 17 June 2006

''As a show of British military finery, the Trooping of the Colour has had no equal for 258 years. Today, the Guards regiments will parade for the monarch and tourists in their spotless regalia, topped with their lustrous bearskins.

But as the Queen takes the salute to mark her 80th birthday celebrations this morning, some 4,000 miles away a group of hunters will be preparing to go into the dense woodlands of Canada and kill an Ursus americanus or Canadian black bear.

If the animal is fortunate, it will die quickly from a shot to the head before having its head and paws severed as trophies and the skin sold to a fur auctioneer. In the past five years alone, 494 of those pelts have been sold at a cost of £321,000 ($666,000 CDN) to a long-standing customer of the Canadian fur industry - the British Ministry of Defence.

Yesterday, the MoD - and by default the guardsmen who will stand to attention on Horse Guards Parade today - were accused by animal welfare campaigners of perpetuating the annual slaughter of 10,000 Canadian black bears, many of whom die in pain from botched kills by fee-paying trophy " sportsmen".

The Army confirmed yesterday it would continue to buy between 50 and 100 bearskins a year after it declared a trial to replace the distinctive headwear with hats fashioned from synthetic fur had failed because they got " waterlogged" on rainy days.

Senior officers complained that the man-made hats lacked the "life" and "bounce" of real bearskin - the focus of millions of tourist photographs every year and, as one MoD official put it, "as much an icon of Britishness as a red telephone box".

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), which has waged a three-year campaign to persuade the Army to switch to man-made bearskins and co-operated in the trial, said the MoD was engaging in a cynical "PR exercise" by insisting the synthetic hats were not fit for purpose.

The row has provoked an Early Day Motion signed by 175 MPs calling on the Army to switch to man-made bearskins.

Anita Singh, campaign co-ordinator for Peta, said: "The taxpayer should know that hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money is being spent to perpetuate this shameless slaughter.

"The MoD declared 20 years ago it was willing to switch to a synthetic fur. But, despite being an organisation with the resources to wage modern warfare, it seems incapable of sourcing a suitable man-made material. The result is the Labour Government, which banned fox hunting and fur farming in the UK, is indulging in a trade that inflicts terrible cruelty on wild animals solely for their skins. The MoD has blood on its hands."

The 16-inch high bearskins, worn by the soldiers of the five Guards regiments, have been part of British military uniform since the early 18th century. They are bought on behalf of the Army from unnamed licensed fur traders in Canada. The hats, fashioned from almost an entire bear pelt around a bamboo frame, are made in England by two military outfitters.

The MoD, which pays an average of £650 ($1350 CDN) for a bearskin, said its requirement for fresh hats represented only a tiny proportion - between 0.5 per cent and 1 per cent - of the total number of Canadian black bears killed each year. It is refurbishing a large number of the existing 2,500 hats to reduce demand.

((Copycat's comments:  I'm guessing the average trapper selling a bearskin isn't getting $1350 for it.))

A spokesman said: "None of these bears are killed specifically to make the caps. They are the result of a controlled kill overseen by the Canadian authorities.

"We have made it clear for some time that if we could find an effective alternative to the bearskins we would use it. We are very aware of the sensitivities about the use of fur. But so far there has not been a synthetic fur which performs the task."

With an estimated population of one million, the Canadian black bear is not an endangered species and the annual kill of 10,000 is controlled by a licensing scheme under which hunters pay to kill one or two animals at a time.

The species is listed under Cites, the international register of protected species, to ensure it is not passed off as its endangered relative, the Asian brown bear.

But Peta, which says it has sourced a synthetic fur that does not retain water but the MoD refuses to submit it to an independent laboratory test, insisted the British Army was legitimising an unnecessary and often cruel sport.

Ms Singh said: "There is no official cull in Canada. This is a commercial enterprise in which the female bear, when it has cubs, is the most prized because her fur is thicker and glossier. The fur of the mother bear is used in the bearskins of Guards officers.

"When the mother bear is killed, all too often her young cubs are left to starve. So, for every bear killed, another two or three will also die. Bears are also badly injured and manage to escape only to die in agony."

The armed forces minister, Adam Ingram, this week insisted that the "manner" in which the bears were killed was a matter for the Canadian authorities. ''
 

Red 6

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Let's not stop at the bearskins! What about the shoes? THE SHOES! Oh, and the wool came from contented sheep that shivered after they were shorn. :crybaby:
 

The Bread Guy

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When will their oppression end, right?   ;D

In a related vein, who knew the Thai military used pink & blue bearskins?????  At least according to this:
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article1089739.ece

''The honour of sporting a white bearskin is the preserve of the bass drummer of the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - marking a presentation to the Royal Scots Greys by Tsar Nicholas II in 1894. The Thai army wears them in blue and pink. And while the use of real bearskins looks set to continue, leopard skin has been replaced by fake fur. The bearskin must never be referred to as a busby. For while the smaller busbys are worn by hussars, artillerymen and engineers, bearskins remain the preserve of the Guards. ''
 

Infanteer

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Virtual slaughter?  These things are pests where I come from.... ::)
 

muskrat89

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That article is so full of shit...

First of all, regarding the "licensing scheme" - Hunting and trapping of anything is regulated by the states and provinces, so it would be different in each province. Some provinces and states allow 2 bears, some don't. The game biologists often set harvest objectives based on population studies, so tag allotment may vary according to hunting zone, even within a state or province.

In most states and provinces (all of them that I know of) you can't, when hunting bears - shoot a mother that has cubs with her (usually they are within sight)

Don't know how the Brits actually buy these hides, but when I was a trapper, furs went to auction (i.e Hudson's Bay Co) There the furs were graded for colour, fur quality, hide quality (holes, drying, etc) and people/companies bought the pelts they wanted for their application. I know no way of targeting females if trapping bears.
 

The Bread Guy

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Sadly, at least one Labour MP seems to believe the PETAites....

http://www.forbes.com/business/feeds/ap/2006/06/20/ap2829028.html

Brit Guards' Bearskin Hats May Be Banned
By KATIE FRETLAND , Forbes Wire Service, 06.20.2006, 07:34 PM

''A British lawmaker is gathering support for his call to ban the towering bearskin hats worn for almost 200 years by the red-coated soldiers who guard the country's royal palaces.

The motion, introduced by Labour party lawmaker Chris Mullin in March, declares the hats made from the fur of Canadian black bears "have no military significance and involve unnecessary cruelty."

Conservative lawmaker Ann Widdecombe has now urged her party to support the motion aimed at replacing the bearskins with artificial substitutes.

"Black bears, who are intelligent and curious animals, are slaughtered in Canada so that their skins may be used for ceremonial hats," Widdecombe wrote in a letter to her party colleagues on Thursday.

Widdecombe's letter was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

So far, 180 of 646 lawmakers in the House of Commons have signed the motion.

(Poster comment:  A bit of deja vu all over again?)

On Sunday, about 100 animal rights activists staged a naked demonstration in London to protest against the hats.

The royal guards who wear the foot-tall black bearskin hats, bright red tunics and white gloves are one of the most recognizable symbols of Britian. Tourists flock to Buckingham Palace, the queen's London home, to watch the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony.

An army spokesman said officials have been searching for an alternative and have tested a false fur that was hot and tended to matte in rainy weather, durable and rich bearskin is preferred.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department policy, said the army also strives to repair instead of replace its 2,500 hats.

"Not a single bear is killed (solely) to make a bearskin hat," the army spokesman said. "Both governments in the United States and Canada have policies to keep the bear population under control."

Canadian black bears are not an endangered species.

The Defense Ministry buys 50 to 100 bearskin pelts a year to outfit its five regiments wearing them. One complete bearskin hat costs $1,197 and can last up to 40 years. ''

Two words for PETA:  renewable resource
 
C

couchcommander

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save a bear, skin a PETA member

And what do you have against People for the Eating of Tasty Animals? I happen to be a full member! ;D

And wait a minute, I could have sworn I heard a while back these things came from roadkill anywho?... *off to find article*

*edit* Ok, well not roadkill, but almost as innocuous...

The army said bears are not killed expressly for their fur. Each year the army’s hat manufacturer buys roughly 100 pelts from an annual cull of tens of thousands of Canadian bears.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7848678/
 

Bomber

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I invite mS Singh to come on over, and kiss a bear, let it know that she is out there, fighting for its right to run around the suburbs, eat trash, and kill pets.  So a couple of bears die each year, let these people take up arms against the Mk3 combat boot, or anyo of the other crap militaries used made from natural materials.  I would have loved to see a bunch of bears running around protesting Peta, wearing them as masks.
 

Franko

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Holy crap...thet're killing off the dump bears?

What are we going to do?

Guess what....I'm a PETA member too.

People
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What next? Protect shyte hawks?

Regards
 

GAP

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Recce By Death said:
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+1

What next? Protect shyte hawks? Just the Sunni Hawks

Regards
 

chanman

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I don't think anyone read that link earlier, I'll post the text inline

Wildlife author killed, eaten by bears he loved (10-08-03)

KATMAI: Many had warned Treadwell that his encounters with browns were too close.

By CRAIG MEDRED
Anchorage Daily News

Published: October 8, 2003
Last Modified: August 28, 2005 at 06:22 AM

A California author and filmmaker who became famous for trekking to Alaska's remote Katmai coast to commune with brown bears has fallen victim to the teeth and claws of the wild animals he loved.

Alaska State Troopers and National Park Service officials said Timothy Treadwell, 46, and girlfriend Amie Huguenard, 37, were killed and partially eaten by a bear or bears near Kaflia Bay, about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, earlier this week.

Scientists who study Alaska brown bears said they had been warning Treadwell for years that he needed to be more careful around the huge and powerful coastal twin of the grizzly.

Treadwell's films of close-up encounters with giant bears brought him a bounty of national media attention. The fearless former drug addict from Malibu, Calif. -- who routinely eased up close to bears to chant "I love you'' in a high-pitched, sing-song voice -- was the subject of a show on the Discovery Channel and a report on "Dateline NBC." Blond, good-looking and charismatic, he appeared for interviews on David Letterman's show and "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" to talk about his bears. He even gave them names: Booble, Aunt Melissa, Mr. Chocolate, Freckles and Molly, among others.

A self-proclaimed eco-warrior, he attracted something of a cult following too. Chuck Bartlebaugh of "Be Bear Aware,'' a national bear awareness campaign, called Treadwell one of the leaders of a group of people engaged in "a trend to promote getting close to bears to show they were not dangerous.

"He kept insisting that he wanted to show that bears in thick brush aren't dangerous. The last two people killed (by bears) in Glacier National Park went off the trail into the brush. They said their goal was to find a grizzly bear so they could 'do a Timothy.' We have a trail of dead people and dead bears because of this trend that says, 'Let's show it's not dangerous.' ''

But even Treadwell knew that getting close with brown bears in thick cover was indeed dangerous. In his 1997 book "Among Grizzlies,'' he wrote of a chilling encounter with a bear in the alder thickets that surround Kaflia Lake along the outer coast of Katmai National Park and Preserve.

"This was Demon, who some experts label the '25th Grizzly,' the one that tolerates no man or bear, the one that kills without bias,'' Treadwell wrote. "I had thought Demon was going to kill me in the Grizzly Maze.''

Treadwell survived and kept coming back to the area. He would spend three to four months a summer along the Katmai coast, filming, watching and talking to the bears.

"I met him during the summer of '98 at Hallo Bay,'' said Stephen Stringham, a professor with the University of Alaska system. "At first, having read his book, I thought he was fairly foolhardy ... (but) he was more careful than the book portrayed.

"He wasn't naive. He knew there was danger."

NO PROTECTION

Despite that, Treadwell refused to carry firearms or ring his campsites with an electric fence as do bear researchers in the area. And he stopped carrying bear spray for self-protection in recent years. Friends said he thought he knew the bears so well he didn't need it.

U.S. Geological Survey bear researcher Tom Smith; Sterling Miller, formerly the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's top bear authority; and others said they tried to warn the amateur naturalist that he was being far too cavalier around North America's largest and most powerful predator.

"He's the only one I've consistently had concern for,'' Smith said. "He had kind of a childlike attitude about him.''

"I told him to be much more cautious ... because every time a bear kills somebody, there is a big increase in bearanoia and bears get killed,'' Miller said. "I thought that would be a way of getting to him, and his response was 'I would be honored to end up in bear scat.' ''

A number of other people said that over the years Treadwell made similar comments to them, implying that he would prefer to die as part of a bear's meal. All said they found the comments troubling, because bears that attack people so often end up dead.

RANGERS RETRIEVE REMAINS

Katmai park rangers who went Monday to retrieve the remains of Treadwell and Huguenard -- both of whom were largely eaten -- ended up killing two bears near the couple's campsite.

Katmai superintendent Deb Liggett said she was deeply troubled by the whole episode.

"The last time I saw Timothy, I told him to be safe out there and that none of my staff would ever forgive him if they had to kill a bear because of him,'' she said. "I kind of had a heart-to-heart with him. I told him he was teaching the wrong message.

"This is unfortunate, (but) I'm not surprised. It really wasn't a matter of if; it was just a matter of when.''

What led up to the latest Alaska bear attack, as well as exactly when it happened, is unknown. The bodies of Treadwell and Huguenard, a physician's assistant from Boulder, Colo., were discovered Monday by the pilot of a Kodiak air taxi who arrived at their wilderness camp to take them back to civilization. A bear had buried the remains of both in what is known as a "food cache.''

The couple's tent was flattened as if a bear sat or stepped on it, but it had not been ripped open, even though food was inside. The condition of the tent led most knowledgeable observers to conclude the attack probably took place during the daylight hours when Treadwell and Huguenard were outside the tent, instead of at night when they would have been inside. Most of their food was found in bear-proof containers near the camp.

Officials said the camp was clean but located close to a number of bear trails. Because of the concentration of bears in the Kaflia Lake area and a shortage of good campsites, however, it is almost impossible to camp anywhere but along a bear trail there.

EXTENDED THEIR STAY

Treadwell and Huguenard, who was in the process of moving from Colorado to Malibu to live with Treadwell, had last been heard from Sunday afternoon when they used a satellite phone to talk to Jewel Palovak. Palovak is a Malibu associate of Treadwell at Grizzly People, which bills itself as "a grass-roots organization devoted to preserving bears and their wilderness habitat.''

Palovak said she talked with Treadwell about his favorite bear, a sow he called Downy. Treadwell had been worried, Palovak said, that the sow might have wandered out of the area and been killed by hunters. So instead of returning to California at the end of September as planned, Treadwell lingered at Kaflia to look for her. Palovak said Treadwell was excited to report finding the animal alive.

PILOT CALLS IN TRAGEDY

What transpired in the hours after the phone call is unknown. The Kodiak pilot who arrived at the Treadwell camp the next day was met by a charging brown bear. The bear forced the pilot for Andrew Airways back to his floatplane.

Authorities said he took off and buzzed the bear several times in an effort to drive it out of the area, but it would not leave the campsite established by Treadwell and Huguenard. When the pilot spotted the bear apparently sitting on the remains of a human, authorities said, he flew back to the lake, landed, beached his plane some distance from the camp and called for help from troopers and the Park Service.

Interviews with sources who were on the scene provided this account:

Park rangers were the first to arrive. They hiked from the beach toward a knob above the camp hoping to be able to survey the scene from a distance. They had no sooner reached the top of the knob, however, than they were charged by a large brown bear.

It was shot and killed at a distance of about 12 feet. The Andrew Air pilot, according to Bruce Bartley of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, was convinced the large boar with the ratty hide was the same animal he'd tried to buzz out of the campsite. The boar was described as an underweight, old male with rotting teeth.

Authorities do not know if it was the bear that killed Treadwell and Huguenard. They were to fly to the site on Tuesday to search the animal's stomach for human remains but were prevented from doing so by bad weather.

After shooting that bear, rangers and troopers who had by then arrived walked down to the campsite and undertook the task of gathering the remains of the two campers. While they were there, another large boar grizzly went through the campsite but largely ignored the humans.

A smaller, subadult that appeared later, however, seemed to be stalking the group. Rangers and troopers shot and killed it.

"It would have killed Timothy to know that they killed the bears,'' Palovak said, "but there was no choice in the matter."

"He was very clear that he didn't want any retaliation against a bear,'' added Roland Dixon, a wealthy bear fan who lives on a ranch outside of Fort Collins, Colo., and has been one of Treadwell's main benefactors for the past six or seven years. "He was really adamant that he didn't want any bear to suffer from any mistake that he made. His attitude was that if something like this were to happen, it would probably be his fault.''

Bartlebaugh of "Be Bear Aware'' has no doubts that Treadwell loved the animals but believes the love was misguided.

"I'm an avid bear enthusiast,'' Bartlebaugh said. "It's the same attitude that I think Timothy had, but I don't want them (the bears) to be my friends. I don't want to have a close, loving relationship. I want to be in awe of them as wild animals.''

Palovak, Treadwell's associate, and Dixon take a different view.

"I think (Timothy) would say it's the culmination of his life's work,'' Palovak said. "He always knew that he was the bear's guest and that they could terminate his stay at any time. He lived with the full knowledge of that. He died doing what he lived for.''

"He was kind of a goofy guy,'' Dixon said. "It took me a while to get in tune with him. His whole life was dedicated to being with the bears, or teaching young people about them. That's all he ever did. It was always about the bears. It was never about Timothy. He had a passion and he lived his passion. There will be no one to replace him. There's just nobody in the bear world who studies bears like Timothy did.''

Dixon acknowledged Treadwell took risks with bears but dismissed as envious those who criticized his behavior .

Daily News reporter Elizabeth Manning contributed to this story. Daily News Outdoors editor Craig Medred can be reached at cmedred@adn.com.

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