Creator of controversial £5 note says vegans are being "stupid"

Professor David Solomon considers the amounts of tallow found in the bills to be "trivial"

Creator of controversial £5 note says vegans are being "stupid"

Picture by Yui Mok PA Wire/PA Images

Just as the Bank of England moved to ease the concerns of vegetarians, vegans, animal rights activists and members of various religions by confirming that they were looking at "possible solutions" to its new £5 banknote contains tallow, the man who invented the polymer note has dismissed the uproar as "stupid".

Professor David Solomon told Australian radio station 2GB:

"It's stupid. It's absolutely stupid. There's trivial amounts of it in there."

The pioneering polymer chemist from Adelaide made the case for the use of plastic notes, saying that they were extremely hard to forge and offered consumers benefits over paper notes.

"It picks up less drugs than paper notes and you don't chop down trees," the 87-year-old said. "It's more hygienic than a paper note by a long way."

Australia became the first nation to adopt a polymer bank note way back in 1988. That AU$10 note was developed by the country's research and development body CSIRO, with Solomon leading the team. 

Of the current controversy, the Bank of England commented yesterday:

"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."

Though it also noted that the amount of animal fat used is "extremely small", the UK's central bank said that the currency supplier was "working intensively" to remove it.

A petition, signed by over 120,000 people, stated:

"The new £5 notes contain animal fat in the form of tallow. This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K.

"We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use."