Vegan businesses reject animal fat £5 note

A number of vegan retailers are refusing to accept the Bank of England’s new tallow-infused £5 note.

News about the note containing animal fat caused huge controversy when the story broke last week.

The Bank of England confirmed to Vegan Trade Journal that the note contains ‘traces’ of the animal substance. A spokesperson said: ““We can confirm that the polymer pellet from which the base substrate is made contains a trace of a substance known as tallow. Tallow is derived from animal fats (suet) and is a substance that is also widely used in the manufacture of candles and soap.”

Over 100,000 people then signed an online petition demanding that tallow is no longer used in the production of these notes. It says: “The new £5 notes contain animal fat in the form of tallow. This is unacceptable to millions of vegans & vegetarians in the UK. We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use.”

The bank has said it has taken the concerns ‘seriously’ and is looking into alternative options for producing the cash.

Now at least two vegan businesses have come forward and said they will not use the currency.

The Rainbow Café in Cambridge informed customers via a sign that cashiers would not accept the currency
Business owner Sharon Meijland told the BBC: “[Tallow’s] an animal product isn’t it? Our whole business is based around not having anything like that on the premises. Although the same person doesn’t handle the money that handles the food, that’s not really the point.”

Cheltenham-based juice-bar owner has taken the same stand. Personal trainer Dan Fivey owns vegan food and juice bar Not Just Juice. He said: “I’ll be asking for animal-free money in the future and using coins and cards and bank transfers. This situation is totally avoidable and we should be looking to change the process asap. It could have massive repercussions as vegans may actually stop spending money altogether.”

Questions have arisen over whether the companies can legitimately refuse legal tender, with Ms Meijland saying if any customers insist on using the £5 notes in the café, the money will be donated to animal charities.

Photo Credit: Copyright – Bank of England

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