Putting animal fat in the new £5 note is an insult to vegetarians and should concern everyone

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

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The Bank of England have recently stated that the new £5 notes contain animal fat. This news has come as a shock to many vegans and vegetarians.

As a vegan, I try very hard to keep animal products out of my life, and to find out that I’ve been unknowingly carrying around a product containing animal fat in my wallet feels wrong.

According to the Bank of England, the notes contain a ‘trace of tallow’. Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet – and guess what. It doesn’t need be used in the notes at all. Using animals in this way is outdated and unnecessary, not to mention the fact that it is obviously cruel.

We’re aware that we can only do what we can – the definition of veganism states that it is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is practical and possible, the use of animals. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to be 100 per cent vegan in our non-vegan world.

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Animal products are impossible to get away from – they can be found everywhere, from car tyres to plastic bags to computers. 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vegans aren’t able to completely avoid all use of items in their everyday lives, this doesn’t mean we should accept the outdated manner in which animal products are added into everyday items, when there are plenty of alternative options available.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.

Vegans make up a significant portion of our society, with over 1 per cent of over-15s in Great Britain following a vegan diet. And this number is growing, with nearly half of vegetarians wanting to reduce their consumption of animal products. This growing portion of society deserves to have their beliefs listened to, and taken into consideration.

And it’s not just vegans who are affected by this decision. Many vegetarians are unhappy about the use of animal fat in the new notes, while people with certain religious beliefs are also forced to have their beliefs compromised.

There is a school of thought which states that that using animals is OK, as long as no part of the animal is wasted. Some people have commented that tallow is a ‘byproduct’ of slaughter, so why wouldn’t we use it? However, vegans object to slaughter and this extends to everything created as a result of it. It makes no sense to validate animal product industries by continuing to use the byproducts created as a result of them.

Not using animals is better for us, them, and the planet. We don’t need to use animals at all to live healthy, happy lives – and this includes not using them in everyday items. The use of animal products in bank notes contributes to the fact that vegans’ beliefs are onec again compromised in everyday life.

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