Why Are Vegans Furious Over the UK’s New Money?

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The United Kingdom's new 5-pound note has been in circulation for less than three months, but it's already sparking outrage with some Brits.

Some vegans and vegetarians in the United Kingdom were shocked to find out that the country’s new plastic 5-pound note contains small traces of tallow, which is derived from animal fat. Now, they’re demanding the U.K.’s new polymer note go fat-free.

As of this writing, a petition to the Bank of England to remove animal fat from the plastic notes had amassed nearly 27,000 signatures.

“[Having tallow in cash] is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K.,” reads the petition.

The polymer-based banknotes are not only more energy-efficient to produce, but they’re also stronger than their paper counterparts. Thus, they “can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up into pockets,” the Bank of England explains.

The new banknotes also come with extra security features, making them safer for consumers to use.

Elena Orde of the Vegan Society writes in the Independent that using animal fat in banknotes is “outdated and unnecessary.” She says the tallow should be removed from the money because consumers should not have to compromise their beliefs in order to use the money.

“While vegans aren’t able to completely avoid all use of items in their everyday lives, this doesn’t mean we should accept the outdated manner in which animal products are added into everyday items, when there are plenty of alternative options available.

Unfortunately, using cash isn’t something we can always opt out of, so vegans will be unable to stop using the new notes.”

The polymer notes went into circulation on Sept. 13. The paper 5-pound note will no longer be accepted after May 2017. By 2020, the U.K. plans to replace all its paper banknotes with polymer money.

Do you think the U.K. should remove the animal fat from its new plastic money? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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