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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Hats off to Buckingham Palace

Published 09/22/08
By Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Associate

Hats off to Buckingham Palace for agreeing to trade in the bear fur hats worn by the famously somber guardsmen for a humane faux fur alternative.

The hats, which have been worn by the Royal Guards for almost 200 years, have historically required between 50 and 100 new caps every year — each using the entire skin of a black bear to make.

If the transition is completed by the end of the year, Buckingham Palace will have officially done more to protect North American black bears than the U.S. Congress which failed to pass Bear Protection Act this year — thanks in no small part to the NRA and the Safari Club who lobbied against it. Gotta love those hunters who claim to be conservationists.

Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute is a leader in the worldwide effort to stop the illegal commercialization of bear parts, specifically the gallbladders, bile, and paws.

Born Free USA united with API along with other leading conservation and animal protection organizations worked hard to pass the Bear Protection Act this year which, if passed, would have assisted state and federal wildlife law-enforcement efforts regarding bear conservation while creating a sound national policy against the trade in bear gallbladders and bile.

From coast to coast across North America, bears have been found with the gallbladders removed, the paws lopped off, and the poor animal’s body left to rot in the woods. Although a gallbladder might fetch $50 or $100 at the first point of sale, its ultimate purchase price on the black market could range into the thousands of dollars. Bear gallbladders can be as valuable by weight as gold or illicit drugs.

In the United States, the current patchwork of state laws that address the bear parts trade creates a wildlife law-enforcement nightmare.

*sigh*

At least our friends across the pond care about our bears.

Blogging off,

Monica

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