The newly issued five-pound note created controversy among vegan and vegetarian Londoners this week, as it was reported to contain the use of animal products.
The information was released by the Bank of England on Twitter, explaining the plastic polymer bills have trace amounts of tallow, the same substance derived from animal fats used in the production of soap and candles.
Vegans and Vegetarians Respond
A University College London researcher and vegetarian, Clive Shrubsole, Tweeted that the use of animal fats in the five-pound note is “offensive and a disgrace to all vegans and vegetarians.”
A whopping 96,000 signatures showed support of this opinion in a Change.org petition. The petition fights against the use of animal products by the Central Bank, stating a demand to “cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use.”
A member of a UK-based Vegan Society, Ali Ryland, discusses her disappointment in the idea that “animals are being used and exploited in this way”, especially given the many plant-based variants that could be used as a substitute for tallow.
PETA UK’s director, Elisa Allen, linked the yearly deaths of millions of cows to the mass production of tallow and beef products and described the “cruel and violent industry” as responsible for some of the world’s highest emissions of greenhouse-gases. She released a statement saying:
“Of course, it’s worth remembering that the best way to help animals is not to avoid this fatty fiver, but rather to vote with our wallets and not give our cash to industries which harm animals and the environment.”
Although the Bank of England refrained from stating which animals are being used, BBC reported Hindu leaders discuss the potential to ban the use of these new notes in temples throughout Britain, as cows are seen as sacred in the Hindu religion.
Initially, these newly produced notes were introduced as environmentally friendly as they are more wear-resistant than paper bills and are made from recyclable materials.
Despite public outrage, the original paper five-pound notes are still scheduled to be legally obsolete as of May 2017.