HC Deb 10 December 2003 vol 415 c463W
Mr. Jenkins

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many bearskins the Army has purchased in each of the last five years; and whether these bears are(a) killed in the wild and (b) farmed for their skins. [141855]

Mr. Ingram

A total of 694 bearskin caps have been procured over the last five years.

Calendar year Caps procured
1998 54
1999 166
2000 232
2001 63
2002 179
Total 694

The pelts used in the manufacture of bearskin caps are purchased through a licensed agent and imported under licence from Canada. We understand from manufacturers that the pelts are supplied from bears hunted as part of the quotas established under the Canadian Provinces' conservation plans.

One bear pelt can make on average between one and two caps. A cap refurbishment programme has been in place since 2001 with the aim of reducing the requirement for new caps to a minimum. A total of 430 caps have been refurbished since this programme began.