At least three Hindu temples in Britain have joined vegan and vegetarian eateries in banning the UK’s new plastic 5-pound notes after it emerged that they are made with a substance derived from animal fat.
The Bank of England confirmed on Twitter this week that the notes contain “a trace of a substance known as tallow” — a rendered form of animal fat, processed from suet, which is sometimes used in soaps and candles. The bank said, however, that it was not aware of the fact when it signed the contract with supplier Innovia Security.
Satish Sharma of the National Council of Hindu Temples (UK) told the BBC that “temples have a responsibility to maintain a certain standard of Dharmic principles. Any temple which wanted to go along and ban the £5 note wouldn’t be acting in any matter which was inconsistent.”
He added: “Every Temple and every Hindu is entitled to respond to it as their conscience dictates.”
Radha Mohan Das from Bhaktivedanta Manor Temple in Hertfordshire told the BBC that the ban was “a matter of principle.”
— Bank of England (@bankofengland) December 1, 2016
Vegans and vegetarians are also calling for the new notes, which have only been in circulation for two months, to be replaced.
An online petition against the notes has had more than 120,000 signatories. The petition says the use of tallow is “unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others” in the UK, and demands that it be removed from the notes.
The Bank of Canada says their bank notes also have tallow, according to a CBC report.