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Some might say that a castrated lion is the perfect symbol for European defence policy - and the Times online claims some unidentified US blogger did but I have not found a source for that quote. It all began when a few women in the Nordic Battle Group were miffed that the symbol for their group showed a male lion, and they figured this was sex discrimination so they lodged a complaint with the European Court of Justice. Before anyone could say nip-tuck the lion on the coat of arms was castrated via computer.
The lion, before and after.
The Lions designer Vladimir A Sagerlund doesn't think it's in the least bit amusing: “The Army lacks knowledge about heraldry. Coats of arms containing lions without genitalia were given to those who betrayed the Crown.” he said to Göteborgs Posten. Mr Sagerlund knows a thing or two about this, having worked as a crest designer at the National Archives since 1994.
A pretty useless snip if you ask me, since the Lion is still clearly a male with that mane - the Times says that "the message remains clear: the lions are supposed to display courage and nothing else." To me, choosing the lazy-ass, never hunt for himself male lion as a symbol for courage when the females do all the scary hunting work (in tight units no less, with each female responsible for one part of the hunt, how very army-like) seems kind of silly right there so while we're already using by now outdated symbols could we at least let the poor critter keeps his balls? Then there are those who are better at latin than me who argue that "ad omnia paratus" in female form would be paratas, so we're not gender neutral even in the motto, making the snip a tad impotent.
There are plenty of other crests that are clearly male animals, and sadly it looks as if they'll be loosing their parts soon as well. Where will all the baby crests come from in the future?
Hat tip to Bold