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Bearskins

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 996W, on bearskins, which companies have been involved in producing alternatives to real bearskins; for what reasons each alternative was not successful; and if he will establish a timescale for phasing out the use of real bearskins. (80358)

Several faux fur manufacturers have made samples available to the Ministry of Defence. Between 1998 and 2004 the companies involved were:

N&MA Saville Associates

Dawson Fabrics (also known as Fleece Fabrics Ltd.)

Dawson International

Saluki

BY Furs

Tyber.

After this date all samples were provided by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA has not given the Department the names of the companies they have used. The trial process is on-going. The faux fur has been unsuccessful for a number of reasons: it could not replicate the movement of real fur when tested on parade; there were problems with increasing weight experienced under normal wet weather conditions; it did not retain its shape; and it reacted adversely to atmospheric static.

The Department has no current timescale to phase out the use of bearskins but alternatives will be considered if and when they are found to be suitable.