A BOURNEMOUTH MP is among those calling for an end to the use of bearskin for headwear worn by the five Guards regiments, including those at Buckingham Palace.

Sir John Butterfill, MP for Bournemouth West, has signed on to an Early Day Motion tabled by Labour MP Chris Mullin, which calls for the House of Commons to recognise that the bearskin hats have no military significance and involve needless cruelty.

The motion, supported by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), would end the Ministry of Defence's purchase of skins that come from Canadian black bears which are shot, maimed and killed and substitute hats made from fake fur.

PETA says it can take the entire hide of one bear to make just one Guard's headpiece. The skin comes from bears shot in Canada and many are shot several times before they die.

Some bears escape the hunters and slowly die from blood loss, gangrene, infection, starvation or dehydration.

When mother bears are killed, the orphaned cubs are left behind to starve.

PETA campaigner Anita Singh, said: "We commend Sir John Butterfill for his compassionate and progressive stance.

"With the support of MPs speaking out against cruelty to animals, the bear slaughter may soon go the way of fox hunts, fur farms and other abominations which have no place in 21st-century British society.

Celebrities also backing the motion include Twiggy, Morrissey, Julian Clary and Sir Roger Moore.

And a PETA "bear" has spent the last few months tailing Prince Charles, urging him to "save my skin".

More information can be accessed at www.peta.org.uk