Nude protesters aim to stop bear killing for guards' hats

DOZENS of nude animal rights supporters staged a protest yesterday against the use of bearskin to make hats for the Queen's palace guards.

About 70 men and women lay in the rain on steps near St Paul's Cathedral in London to demonstrate against the killing of black bears in Canada to make the hats.

The protesters wore only bear masks, chanted slogans and held up banners during the stunt, organised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).

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Peta said more than 170 MPs had signed an Early Day Motion calling for the use of fake fur in the hats.

Campaigners claim it can take the entire hide of one bear to make just one hat.

Campaign co-ordinator Anita Singh said: "People wanted to show how passionate they are about this cause. Sometimes drastic things call for drastic measures.

"The British government, which has outlawed fur farming, is perpetrating this. This wouldn't be allowed in Britain.

"It is indefensible cruelty and the government is having a lot of explaining to do now in the face of public opposition."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We appreciate how strongly people feel about it and we are, and have been for quite some time, trialling synthetic substitutes for hats. We just haven't been able to find a suitable synthetic solution."