Animal activists are up in arms and calling for change in the UK after confirmation Britain’s newly released five pound note contains animal fat.
Britain is currently in the process of replacing its paper notes with new notes printed on polymer, a thin and flexible plastic material.
The notes are easier to handle, cleaner, more long-lasting and also allow for extra security features, making them harder to counterfeit.
But the Bank of England has confirmed the material contains traces of tallow, a type of hard animal fat commonly used in other household objects such as candles and soap.
The confirmation sparked outrage among animal activists, who argue it is unnecessary to include animal products in today’s currency.
“I will no longer be accepting these notes,” Twitter user Angela wrote.
“Remove them from circulation immediately. Offensive and a disgrace to all vegans and vegetarians,” said Clive Shrubsole. In the 48 hours following the announcement, more than 69,000 people signed a petition posted on Change.org calling for the bank to cease using tallow in future notes.
“The new 5 [pound] notes contain animal fat in the form of tallow. This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the UK,” the petition states.
“We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use.”
What about Australian notes?
Australia was the first country to adopt polymer banknotes.
They were developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia as a way to crackdown on major counterfeit fraud following the country’s migration to the decimal system in 1966.
Both Australia’s and Britain’s polymer banknotes are supplied by the same manufacturer — Innovia Security.
Innovia spokesperson Carlos Fernandez told the ABC miniscule amounts of tallow is also used in producing Australia’s banknotes.
Mr Fernandez said the film on the notes contains small amounts of additives that act as stabilisers, anti-block, anti-static, slip agents or as other functional processing aids, but that the additives comprise less than one per cent of the total weight of the film.
“Of the less than 1 per cent of additive material, a trace amount of tallow is used by some of our component resin suppliers,” he said.
The company supplies 78 denominations in 24 countries.
Britain’s new five pound note was released into circulation in September. A new polymer 10 pound note is set to be released next year, while the 20 pound note will be issued in 2020.
The Bank of England has said it will make a decision on whether to print a new 50 pound note on polymer “in due course“.
Online Source: ABC.net.au.