Monday, March 10, 2008

Widdecombe Can't Bear the Bear Hunt

Ann Widdecombe has today given her support to a new campaign to persuade the MoD to stop buying black bearskins from Canada. In the last five years the Ministry of Defence has spent £320,000 on buying bearskin caps for the Queen's Guards. Ann unveiled a shocking new video at the House of Commons today - and believe me, it's not for the faint hearted. More than 200 MPs have already signed an Early Day Motion calling on the government to switch to a modern and humane synthetic fabric, but so far to no avail.


Anonymous said...

What a waste of effort and how can this issue be a priority. Dont 200 MPs have better things to do with their time.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. Poor old Widdy. It's a tough one this. I can't help feeling that the use of a synthetic fabric might add to global warning. Zzzz ...

Madasafish said...

Can't afford body armour for soldiers byt £300k for bearskins.

Yes. As usual the MOD has its priorities well and truly correct.

As for MPs complaining about it, their priorities seem .. how shall we say it . wrong..

Anonymous said...

Horrid video or not Iain, the bear skin hats are better than any synthetic and MoD has tried. And to their credit, they have tried. But it's warmer, lasts longer, doesn't cause problems in rain, sleet or snow, and did I mention, lasts longer. The hats last about a hundred years, so the recent hike of replacements isn't the norm.

Anonymous said...

Not for the faint hearted? I saw a couple of bears being shot and heard the sort of language you hear at a pub. The slaughter of Gordon Ramsey's pigs was more graphic.

Newmania said...

What a lot of rubbish. We only eat meat because it tastes nice , so we wear fur because it looks nice .So what.
When you are talking abour people whose real job is to kill people and to be killed , the lack of a sense of porportion is truly awe inspiring .
This only encourages the dogs on string people to shove nail bombs through the letterboxes of Scientists trying to find cures for childhood blindness.( All of which happens )

Animals and animals and Beatrix Potter is for children.

Wear The Bear
Wear The Bear

Anonymous said...

Poor old Widdy.. for all her hard woman image, unfortunately she has a track record of going all weak at the knees and 'oooo can't hurt the furry wurry animals...'.

As others have said, one wonders about priorities...

Newmania said... they shoot them , what did you expect , they bored them to death?

Wear The Bear.

Chris Paul said...

pDoes Widdy want the skins of bears culled and killed landfilled rather than used in this way?

That would be a huge waste would it not?

People who rely on hunting to live often have a rule that whatever they kill they do their utmost to use every last part. That is sensible.

David Lindsay said...

Ann Widdecombe Versus The Guards? I know who I'd bet on.

At least Miss Widdecombe (to whom the BBC is ludicrously referring as "Ms Widdecombe") is an elected MP. The last campaign against bearskins came from assorted pop stars, proving to me once and for all, both that there are much worse things than an hereditary peerage, and that there could be much worse things than an elected second chamber.

And here's hoping that Widdy will extend her sympathy for foxes (far more of which are killed under her present favoured arrangements than ever were before, but there we are) and bears to the legally guilty but morally innocent human beings whom she would put to death, and to the legally and morally innocent human beings in Afghanistan and Iraq whose killing she supports.

mrcawp said...

For crying out loud... bears aren't all like Winnie the Pooh, you know: they're vicious, murderous, lethal animals. And shooting them for their skin - since it doesn't in any way endanger their populations at the present level - is no worse than wringing a chicken's neck.

I can't believe Widdecome would fall for this Peta nonsense. Gangrene from being shot and limping away? They wouldn't escape for long enough! Hunters being rude - how on earth is that a reason? I bet MPs are pretty rude and crude some of the time: I wouldn't use it as an argument to abolish them.

Thank God she's retiring. She's clearly going loopy-loo.

Anonymous said...

Is Widdecombe asleep?

Anonymous said...

This is a very good way of using up bears.

Old BE said...

Are the bears killed only for their fur or are they culled anyway?

Perhaps the MOD have tried alternatives but have failed to find a suitable one?

Would it be less horrendous if the bears weren't so cute?

Let's ban fox-hunting while we're at it. Or perhaps let's leave it up to the Canadians to decide???

Anonymous said...

For heaven's sake, get a real hobby.

How long do you think those bearskins last once they've above our Guardsmen's chins? Three or four decades at least? Nine or ten or eleven decades at most? Or maybe even a little bit more than that?

Whereas, if the bear just dies of old age, what happens to it? It, err, rots. And the bear probably dies slowly, in huge pain, because out in the real world, that's the way real, old animals usually die.

Sorry, but some of you really ought to think a little bit more about the boys who wear the bearskins, and die to keep us safe, and a little bit less about those sodding unfortunate bears.

Anonymous said...

Well done for flagging this up.

I didn't watch the video. I do not need to. Anybody with half a brain can see that the unnessary slaughter of animals for such a piffling purpose is wrong.

I am not anti hunt, I eat meat, I am not anti-vivisection, and I am a patriot, but there must be an alternative to this. For goodness sake they can wear something else can't they?

Anonymous said...

Chris Paul has finally posted a comment I can agree with!

I'm off to lie down for a while...

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Another non-story like today's weather.

Last week, we had the biggest betrayal of the British people(since Maastricht) in the House of Commons and now all we worry about are bearskins.

I despair.

Scipio said...

Oh for God's sake Iain. What a load of rubbish.

Anne Widdecmbe is well known as a nuisence on these issues - fox hunting for example. She should go and bother the Government about something important.

Does she think that by the guards switching to nylon that the bears won't be hunted. They are not hunted because they make nice hats, they are hunted cos they are a nuisence!

The bears in Canada are not a protected species, and are numerous. They will continue to be shot regardess of whether the guards buy their fur or not - just as cows will continue to be killed if we all started buying plastic shoes!

And as for cruelty - how does she know. This issue has perplexed vets and scientists for years - just read the Burns' Report on Hunting to see how complicated the argument is. I doubt therefore that Anne Widdecombe's musings will add anything of value.

And as for PETA! If they are so worried about animals having the pain of a lingering death at the hands of a poor marksman, why did they work so hard to ban the only thing which will guarentee a clean kill for the fox - hunting with hounds - thus forcing farmers into using guns, which cause exactly the situation they criticise the bear hunters of. They are hypocrites who cannot even maintain thier own argument.

Also, PETA are an organisation who wish to enforce veganism on the world, are funded by wealthy Americans, have no real support base in the UK (hence the reason why all the nude activists have foreign accents), and use money to come up with media worthy stunts.

PETA are also supported by the kind of scum who often use 'baseball bat' democracy to get their message across.

And what was so graphic about the video anyway? I have shot for 20 years, skinned and gutted animals and eated the resulst and that didn't look like anything untoward. A bear hit a car is a lot more messy and grusome, but no-one wants to ban driving (except perhaps Ken Livingstone - but not to save the bear). You see worse on River Cottage or a Jamie Oliver show!

As for 'f***** a virgin bear' - well, shall I upload osme of the footage of animal rights thugs and the language they use. Only difference is, they are targetting human beings.

We have got to get away form this urban nonsense that meat falls from the trees wraped in clingfilm, and that animals are our equals.

They have no responsibilities, so they cannot have rights! We humans however have obligations to act as good stewards of nature - including is how we manage the species. I see nothing in this situation which is anything other than good stewardship of nature.

Animal welfare YES. Animal rights - bad move!

Anne Widdecome should go and find something worthwhile to bang on about - like how many wild birds and protected species a year are killed by domestic cats.

Oops, sorry I forgot, she has cats, so she won't go there will she!

Scipio said...

David - it is NOT a horrid video. It is a video which shows the reality of animals being culled by human beings, and their bodies prepared for their post-morten use.

Seeing Nick Burg's head cut off by Muslim extremists - that is a horrid video! Seeing planes crahsed into buildings - that is a horrid video.

This is just reality for the majority of the world who cannot pop to Tecso for their shrink wraped chicken!

Saint's alive - how would Widdecombe and her tree hugging lentil munching bain-dead nutters cope with life in Sub Saharan Africa, given only a bow and arrow and a knife survive.

They wouldn't. They would use their sattelite phones and get someone to come and fly them home for a Linda McCartney beanburger and an organic salad!

And I would like to see Widdy in Alaska confronted by a 40 stone bear rampaging through the town looking for food (humans motsly) because theor natural diet of seal is drying up due to climate change. What sould she do - stroke it's ears and hope to put it to sleep!

Silly women.

Newmania for President.

PS - I ate bear-paw pate in Eastern Europe once, and it was delicious - much better than fois gras! Bear meat is very edible, and I doubt it gets wasted.

Does this offend you - tough! It's a delicacy there and it would have been rude to refuse such an honour.

Mostly Ordinary said...

Really, let's ban leather while we're at it.

If we want to improve animal welfare why not address farming and hold importers to the same standard we hold our farmers - oh wait I forget we can't tell EU farmers what to do.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

I can't bear this thread any longer.

Anonymous said...

Calm down, Adrian. I never said I found it horrid, I merely implied that some people inevitably would do. I quite agree with you, in fact. No need to get all pissy.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Widders. The Guards kill lots of humans to keep you alive and free. On the scale of things the headwear isn't a huge factor.

fugitive ink @ 5:13

'How long do you think those bearskins last once they've above our Guardsmen's chins? Three or four decades at least? Nine or ten or eleven decades at most? Or maybe even a little bit more than that?'

This is true. Some date back to the 1920s and 30s.

Little Black Sambo said...

Now that they are (supposed to be) shooting all the foxes, perhaps they could use fox fur. Or wrinkled weasel skin

Anonymous said...

Thank God most that MOST of the people who saw this nonsense were able to see what load of absolute balls it was. Honestly, bears have to be culled, so what? I'm pretty sure the MOD does all it reasonably can to ensure the that skins they buy were obtained in the most humane way possible, beyond that who cares,they'd be killed anyway. The main point here is that they are NOT killed in order to keep the Household Division supplied with bearskin caps! You'd never guess that from the video though.

Raedwald said...

Single ladies of a certain age with cats will always select some unfortunate member of the animal kingdom to visit their kindness upon.

Could have been worse. She could have picked donkeys, and have campaigned against the splendid Spaniards who turn donkeys into the most delicious spicy sausage (a particular favourite in the Raedwald household).

I have a recipe for smoked bear ribs somewhere, but Waitrose has so far failed to stock the key ingredient.

Anonymous said...

"Widdecombe Can't Bear the Bear Hunt"

For some reason, I can't help reading this headline and not imagine that it is either a "Spoonerism" or an anagram. I would come up with some suggestions but I suspect that our host would delete any such post.

Either way, despite her jolly public persona as an eccentric but harmless old bird, to many of us who follow field sports, she is nothing less than a rather naive class traitor.

Her imminent retirement will be no great loss to the Conservative party.

Pity you didn't get the nomination, Iain.

As a matter of interest, where do you stand on the hunting ban?

Iain Dale said...

I would vote to overturn it.

Anonymous said...

On a side note, PETA can't even be bothered to give the various Guard regiments their proper titles and inist on using the ludicrously generic "Queen's Guards" or the worse "Britain's Royal Guards."

Everything else has already been said.

Anonymous said...

A good response, Iain. Thank you.

This isn't a trick question but would you be prepared to go "on record" for The Field or the Countryside Alliance?

Iain Dale said...

Not quite sure what you mean. I am on the record for wanting the ban overturned. The CA know that. They supported me in the last general election.

Anonymous said...


"on record" = being interviewed for publication.

You deserve the wider recognition and support of field sport enthusiasts. As one of them, I'll see what I can do.

Anonymous said...

Can't you just let Iain leave it at that?

Having said that the gay/tommy 2 ways guys in our hunt will be absolutely delighted to hear of Iain's vote when I tell them.

Mo' power to ya.

Oh and I agree with Matt on terminology: 'The Regiments of Foot Guards' or just 'The Guards' does suffice.

Anonymous said...

lady bufton

please pass the port.

you've obviously had it for long enough.

Scipio said...

Sorry David - bear with me - it's a pet subject of mine!

All puns intended!

Newmania said...

I would vote to overturn it.

Good for you or replace it with a Liberal hunt , with bears.

Anonymous said...

Apparently static makes the synthetic ones look like ginormous fluffy afros.

Anonymous said...

Does this really matter.
There are so any more important things in this world to worry about.
Part of the natural life cycle. The culling will go on anyway least it is a good use for the fur

Anonymous said...

This comes up every year. It's not an issue. The MoD have tried using artificial fur and it doesn't work. It is boring and a distraction.

Manfarang said...

Talking of pets(and mascots),lets not forget Wojtek the bear.

Manfarang said...

You will be tethered in Bear Yard.
(When the Ouse is in full flood)

Anonymous said...

The mention of PETA is enough to turn me off this 'cause' I'm afraid. But the complaint about sexist language was a giggle! Most of us actually live in the real world...

Anonymous said...

when the Arctic melts and all the polar bears head south and due to climate warming the grizzlies head north and they eventually meet up? Well which one is going to win the fight then?

Unknown said...

I wrote about something similar last year.