- What happened?
Animal activist group PETA has secured a meeting with the MoD this week, after attacking the traditional real fur bearskin hats that the Buckingham Palace guardsmen wear. The group wants the MoD to make the helmets from synthetic materials. So far, the media campaign has included a naked protest outside the palace. PETA is using celebrities to make a bigger splash, including anti-fur designers Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood and comedian Ricky Gervais.
- What PETA says:
The MoD should stop using Canadian black bears' fur because numbers are falling dramatically. Robbie LeBlanc, director of PETA, said that if the MoD 'has a heart and can see the PR nightmare of continuing to support bear slaughter', it should scrap the hats immediately.
- What the MoD says:
An MoD spokesman refused to confirm what would be discussed at the meeting, saying the MoD was 'not opposed' to using synthetic materials as long as they were suitable for all weather conditions. He said that so far a suitable alternative 'continues to prove elusive'.
- What the media say:
The Sun, The Daily Telegraph and the BBC reported the story straight. The Independent on Sunday wrote: 'The controversial hats... finally seem likely to be replaced with a more modern, humane alternative.'