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Vegetarians Are Not Happy About The UK's New Animal Fat-Filled Money

The new bills are stronger and more secure, but not animal-friendly.

11/29/2016 05:10 pm ET | Updated 4 days ago

Strict vegetarians in the United Kingdom may find their currency options becoming more limited.

The Bank of England said on Twitter Sunday that the new plastic £5 note, which entered circulation in September, contains “trace” amounts of animal fat in the form of tallow.

Tallow is typically rendered from cattle or sheep — though it can also come from pigs or horses — and is used in products like soaps and candles.In this case, tallow is present in the polymer material that the notes are made from. 

An online petition is demanding that the bank stop using tallow in the bill’s production, noting it could be a problem for millions of vegetarians, including those, like Jains and some Hindus, who eschew meat for religious reasons. As of Tuesday, the petition had more than 65,000 signatures.

Some Hindu leaders in the U.K. are planning to discuss banning the new notes from temples, the BBC reports.

The Bank of England is touting the new notes, which feature former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as being stronger, longer lasting and more secure than paper money. They plan to roll out a polymer 10-pound note, featuring author Jane Austen, in 2017 and a new 20-pound note featuring artist JMW Turner by 2020.

UPDATE: Nov. 11 ― The Bank of England has said they are looking into “potential solutions” to the animal fat problem, according to the BBC.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated the Bank of England plans to roll out a 1-pound note featuring Jane Austen. In fact, it will be a 10-pound note.

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