Vegans demand end to use of animal fat in new £5 notes
BRITAIN'S new plastic five pound notes, bearing the portrait of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, have fallen foul of thousands of people who object to the use of animal fats in their manufacture.
An online petition against the notes, started by campaigner Doug Maw, was signed by more than 13,000 supporters in less than 24 hours.
"This is unacceptable to millions of vegans and vegetarians in the UK," Maw said in the online petition.
"We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use," the petition said, adding that some religious groups may also object.
The Bank of England confirmed that tallow, which contains animal fats, is used in the production of the new currency, and said the substance was also commonly used in candles and soap.
"We can confirm that the polymer pellet from which the base substrate is made contains a trace of a substance known as tallow," a Bank spokeswoman said.
In 1857 the use of pig tallow in bullet cartridges used by the British East India Company's army sparked outrage among Muslim and Hindu troops, helping spark a revolt against British rule.
Britain's new, light-blue £5 notes are worth just over $6 (€5.6) and were introduced in September.
They are smaller and stronger, with more security features than their predecessors, with the aim of making them harder to counterfeit.
The polymer that the new notes are printed with is a thin, flexible plastic film. They can be wiped clean and are regarded as more durable.
A plastic £10 note featuring the author of 'Pride and Prejudice', Jane Austen, is due to appear next year.
Plastic banknotes are used in more than 30 countries.