Are protests against animal fat in the new 5 pound note ‘stupid’?

<b><i>There is fresh outrage among Hindus and vegetarians in England after the Australian inventor of polymer notes said that vegans were ‘being stupid’ </i></b>

Photo courtesy: Youtube
Photo courtesy: Youtube

NH Features

‘Hindus, Jains, vegetarians and vegans are stupid, says Australian inventor of England’s new Five Pound note’ claimed Hindu organisations in England on Friday, triggering outrage in the community. The statement itself was provoked by the Professor David Solomon’s seemingly innocuous statement made to an Australian radio station that vegetarians and vegans ‘were being stupid’ in protesting against the new, five Pound polymer notes in England, which the Bank of England confirmed on November 28 contained animal fat.

There are 800,000 Hindus said to be living in England which is estimated to have 1.2 million vegetarians and half a mllion vegans. Professor Solomon is credited with research leading to the world’s first polymer currency notes introduced in Australia in 1988. Since then several countries including Canada, New Zealand and even Bangladesh and Nepal have tried to replace paper currency notes with polymer, a kind of plastic that makes it more durable.

England introduced its first polymer note in September and the Bank of England has taken note of a campaign that mobilised 120,000 signatures in just four days following its admission on November 28 to demand that the notes are withdrawn. The manufacturer, explained BoE in a tweet, was engaged in finding out how to replace the animal fat with something that would be acceptable to vegetarians.

The Australian inventor, however, felt the protesters were being stupid not only because the notes he claimed had a ‘trivial amount’ of tallow but also because tallow is used in manufacturing soaps and candles as well and yet vegans do not seem to have a problem with using them. But the Bank of England, possibly alarmed at the controversy acquiring communal overtones with Hindu temples in Leicester also calling for a ban on the notes, assured that it would respect the concerns expressed and make all attempts to replace the offensive element. Manufacturers of soap and candles are also moving away from tallow in view of the sensitivities involved.

The animal fat is said to be derived from beef, mutton or pork. The Bank of Scotland, in the meanwhile, has assured people that its notes were vegan.

The polymer notes introduced in England took six years to test and develop. Bank of England held roadshows to elicit public opinion and held consultations with bankers, teller machine suppliers and other stakeholders before going ahead with it. While the five pound note has Winston Churchill appearing on one side, the next polymer currency to be issued next year will have author Jane Austen on it.

Polymer notes are said to be better, cleaner, safer and stronger than paper notes. They last two and a half times longer than paper notes as a result of which the central bank have to print fewer notes and thus save on energy and cost. They are harder and more durable and are said to be extremely difficult to forge.

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Published: 04 Dec 2016, 8:56 AM