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Bank of England working on ‘potential solutions’ to make five pound note meat-free
Published:  01 December, 2016

Following on from the backlash by the vegetarian and vegan community, the Bank of England has said it is addressing concerns over the new polymer £5 note containing tallow.

Tallow is a substance commonly used to manufacture candles and soap, and is produced using animal fats.

A statement from the Bank of England read: “We are aware of some people’s concerns about traces of tallow in our new £5 note. We respect those concerns and are treating them with the utmost seriousness. This issue has only just come to light, and the Bank did not know about it when the contract was signed.

“Information recently provided by our supplier, Innovia, and its supply chain shows that an extremely small amount of tallow is used in an early stage of the production process of polymer pellets, which are then used to create the base substrate for the £5 note.

“Innovia is now working intensively with its supply chain and will keep the Bank informed on progress towards potential solutions.”

The news first came to light when the question as to whether or not the polymer £5 note contains tallow was asked on Twitter, to which the Bank of England confirmed that it did.

Since then, a Change.org petition calling for the removal of the animal fat has reached over 100,000 signatures of its 150,000 target.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees – and neither does tallow,” said Elisa Allen, director for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) UK.

“When you consider that beef tallow is a co-product of a cruel and violent industry that kills millions of cows every year and is one of the largest producers of greenhouse-gas emissions in the world, the decision to use animal fat in our currency truly doesn’t make ‘cents’. 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.”

The five pound note was first introduced in September this year, with the intention of phasing out the old paper notes by 5 May 2017.

A new polymer £10 will be introduced in the summer of next year, followed by a polymer £20 in 2020. Whether or not these will contain tallow remains undetermined.