British vegans not happy with "fatty" new £5 note

The Bank of England has admitted the bill contains a small amount of tallow...

A Bank of England revelation that the new £5 note contains animal fat has caused uproar among vegans and vegetarians, with thousands of animal rights supporters taking to the internet to sign a petition condemning the currency.

The change.org campaign – which has over 7,500 e-signatures at time of typing – has declared it "unacceptable to millions of vegetarians and vegans" and is demanding that production be stopped.

On Monday, the bank confirmed in a tweet that the plastic, waterproof fivers – which became legal tender in September – have "a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate..."

The substance is derived from the fat in beef or mutton and typically used in household items such as candles and soap. 

The polymer five pound is the first non-paper note the Bank of England has issued and has already been the source of some controversy.

When it was announced that war-time prime minister Winston Churchill would replace prison reformer Elizabeth Fry on its face, another petition was created to protest the fact that, apart from Queen Elizabeth II, there would now be no women featured on British bank notes.

It was subsequently announced that novelist Jane Austen would be the face of the new £10 polymer note, set to be released next summer. 

Prior to the release of the five, it was reported that British shoppers – particularly the elderly – could end up unwittingly paying twice as much due to the fact plastic notes can stick together. 

A Bank of England Q&A sheet stated:

"Brand new polymer notes can sometimes stick together, but this effect is short-lived once in use."

Economist Justin Urquhart Stewart told the Telegraph earlier this year:

The move to plastic is a waste of time because soon most people won't be using notes anyway, so frankly, the Bank of England ought to think again.