Following the disturbing revelation about the new £5 and £10 notes containing traces of animal fat, many English vegans and vegetarians have urged their national bank for a change in the production process. Over 70,000 protesters have already signed a petition for the Bank of England to stop the use of tallow, a product made out of animal fat, in the production of new currency notes.

The £5 and £10 Polymer Notes and ‘Tallow.’

The fury started after the Bank of England’s confirmation that there are traces of tallow present in the new batch of £5 and £10 polymer currency notes. Tallow, also known as suet, is commonly used in candles and soaps, and is derived from mainly from cow fat, but sheep, deer, bear and other animal fats are also used. 

This “Guardian” substrate is manufactured by only two companies in the world and is used in 99% of the polymer currency notes worldwide. Tallow contains stearic acid, which operates as a lubricant and neutralizing agent for trace additives on the notes. There are substitute plant-based compounds with similar properties available, but their cost is higher than that of Tallow.

The Petition and General Reactions

Mr. Doug Maw of Keswick started the petition and was ‘surprised’ at the significant number of supporters of his movement. Maw, a 47-year-old worker and a vegan of more than 20 years, was initially ‘disgusted’ upon learning about the issue. He said that he was aware that older notes also contained traces of tallow, but knew nothing can be done once they’ve entered circulation. Yet, the use of animal fat in new currency production is totally unacceptable.

As per Mr. Maw, surely there must be animal-friendly alternatives available in this modern age. He has already submitted a 2nd petition online which demands this issue to be debated and addressed in Parliament Houses after due authorization.

Like Maw, more than 1% of England’s population is currently following the ‘vegan’ diet and has adopted plant-based food in their daily intake. Like the vegan community’s outrage, many religious groups might not take kindly to forcibly handling products made from cow fat. 

Is Tallow truly as sign of disrespect to some in the general population? This controversy over the issue of tallow in currency notes will be an ongoing debate unlikely to end in near future.


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