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U.K. vegans and vegetarians outraged over animal fat banknotes

The U.K.’s Central Bank confirmed via Twitter on Monday that the new five-pound “plastic” banknotes did contain tallow, a substance derived from animal fat and used in candles and soaps.

While the Bank of England admitted there was a “trace” of tallow in the new polymer notes, outrage grew when it was learned that the animal fat would more than likely be used in the new 10 and 20 pound notes. The 10-pound notes go into circulation next year and the 20-pound notes are due to be released in 2020, according to the Independent.

The animal fat used in making plastics is usually derived from beef or mutton, says the Independent, but it can come from pork or other animals. But the concerns over the fatty banknotes go further than with vegans and vegetarians.


Bank of England/Twitter says a number of religious groups, including Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains are also concerned because many are either vegetarian or consider cows sacred creatures.

Innovia, the company that manufacturers the banknotes said it obtains its animal fat through a supplier, but declined to name the supplier. The tallow is added to the notes to give them anti-static and anti-slip properties. Innovia pointed out that thousands of products used every day contain animal fats.

The Daily Mail reports a petition started by Doug Maw, of Keswick in Cumbria to get the five-pound notes removed from circulation has now received over 100,000 signatures.

The petition reads: “The new £5 notes contain animal fat in the form of tallow. This is unacceptable to millions of vegans & vegetarians in the U.K. We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use.”

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