British sterling took a pounding post-Brexit, but there is every sign it’s recovering. Thus, it’s a fine time for changes to be made. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Bank of England altered the £5 pound note in order to make them harder to tear, harder to counterfeit, and waterproof. What is surprising, especially to vegans and vegetarians, is that these changes include, as the Bank admitted, “a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate” of the notes. This is the biggest vegan story in England since that chick went off on vegan cheese and suggested it be called Gary.
Tallow, for those not clued into animal derivatives, is rendered suet, solid, white animal — usually cow — fat typically found near the kidneys and loins. Sure, the note isn’t one big greasy lard bill, but, for people who refuse to subject animals to the torture and death associated with the meat industry, even the smallest trace of byproduct isn’t going over well. And, unlike meat and leather, they can’t use a substitute for the £5 note. Are they supposed to load up on singles like they’re going to a strip club?
It is possible for the Bank of England to turn to plant-based sources (like coconut) to garner the stearic acid provided by the tallow, but doing so would raise the cost of production. If the outrage on Twitter and the 60+ thousand signatures on a Change.org petition demanding the the bill’s veganization are anything to go by, this is a solution that vegans and vegetarians are firmly in favor of.
On the other hand, this could be written off as another example of extreme vegans staying true to form.