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Last Updated: Tuesday September 02 2008 13:49 GMT

Royal guards' bearskin hats row

British soldiers taking part in the annual Trooping the Colour parade

The guards at Buckingham Palace are well-known across the world for their bright red outfits and big furry hats.

But an animal rights group wants them to have a bit of a make-over, because their huge hats are made from bearskin.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) want the hats to be re-designed using a material which doesn't involve killing bears.

Members of the group are meeting a top official from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to discuss the plans.

Robbie LeBlanc from Peta, said: "Most people think it's fake fur and when they find out it's real and it takes one bear to make a hat, they are appalled."

The group has already spoken to top clothes designers Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney about new designs.

Fake fur

The MoD says it will think about using a different material, but in the past attempts to use fake fur haven't worked, because it wasn't strong or waterproof enough.