Mayor of Walsall horrified to discover robes made of animal fur
A horrified mayor has vowed never to wear his ceremonial robe again – after discovering it was decorated with real animal fur.
Animal-lover Councillor Paul Bott said he was left feeling like a hypocrite when he was told the fur on the traditional robe worn by Walsall town’s mayor at official engagements was not artificial.
He has now demanded the real fur be removed from the robes and replaced with fake material, adding that he will only wear the official chain with a suit to engagements unless the issue is resolved.
Among the significant events coming up for the Mayor include Remembrance Sunday services next month.
After being sworn into office in May this year, Councillor Bott named Many Tears Animal Rescue as one of his chosen charities.
The centre is also where he got the second of his two rescue dogs from, which had been saved from a puppy farm.
Councillor Bott said he was at an engagement in Birmingham, along with other Midland civic leaders, several weeks ago when the issue came to light.
He said: “I was so upset when I found out and felt like a hypocrite. I’m supporting and promoting the work of a charity against animal cruelty in my Mayoral year and yet here I am wearing a robe with real fur on it.
“A couple of other mayors mentioned it to me at the event. I couldn’t believe it at first and told them it was simulated. But they said they had the same robe and the fur was real.
“I took it up with our legal services and they confirmed it was some form of animal fur. I was gob-smacked. They said they would look into changing it.
“Nobody had ever told me and the council should have changed it years ago. This also means past mayors have all worn real fur.
“I will not wear that robe again. It sends out the wrong message, especially when I am championing the rights of all animals.
“We have significant events coming up, such as Remembrance Sunday next month where the mayor has traditionally worn the robe. But I won’t unless it has been changed.”
A Walsall Council spokesman refused to say what animal fur was on the robe or how old the garment was but said: “We are looking into the concerns the mayor has recently raised.”