Britain’s new plastic five-pound notes, bearing the portrait of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, have fallen foul of thousands of people who object to the use of animal fats in their manufacture.
An online petition against the notes, started by campaigner Doug Maw, was signed by more than 13,000 supporters in less than 24 hours. On Thursday (Dec 1) after two days it was up to 116,000.
The Bank of England confirmed that tallow, which contains animal fats, is used in the production of the new currency, and said the substance was also commonly used in candles and soap.
It also said that its supplier, Innovia, confirmed that an ‘extremely small’ amount of tallow is used in the early stages of the production process.
Innovia has said it is working with its supply chain on a potential solution.
CMC Markets Analyst, Jasper Lawler, said the revelation was a little embarrassing for the Bank of England.
“Well obviously Mark Carney does put the image across of being a festival goer, someone who might be more considerate of these kind of things then maybe perhaps its predecessors, more of a new age governor of the Bank of England if you like. And if he is to live up to that image then I think these sort of things, they should have been considered beforehand,” he said.
“And it is a bit of a gaff here by the Bank of England. No one likes to think that animals would have to be deliberately killed in order to produce money, so I think this is something they’re going to have to address and I suspect the composition of our bank notes might change fairly quickly.”
The new, light-blue five pound notes are worth just over $6 and were introduced in September. They are smaller and stronger, with more security features than their predecessors, with the aim of making them harder to counterfeit.
A plastic 10-pound note featuring the author of “Pride and Prejudice”, Jane Austen, is due to appear next year.