Paper Money

Tallow protests spread to south

Despite many heated protests over the inclusion of trace amounts of tallow, an animal byproduct, in its polymer bank notes, the Bank of England decided in 2017 that it would not change the material’s composition. It cited “the availability of environmentally sustainable alternatives, positions of our Central Bank peers, value for money, as well as the widespread use of animal-derived additives in everyday products.”

Rather than going away, the problem may be spreading, thanks to the efforts of a Hindu organization targeting Australia and New Zealand.


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The president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, wrote a letter to the Reserve Bank of Australia. He asked it “to show respect to the feelings of Hindus and come up with a banknote production process which did not use beef as an ingredient.”

He added, “Consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs and it is certainly banned from entering Hindu religious centers. Cow, the seat of many deities, is sacred and has long been venerated in Hinduism.”

Zed made an identically worded plea to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Polymer note technology was developed by Australia, where in 1988, the country introduced its first polymer bank note. Then, in 1996, more than 20 years ago, Australia became the first country in the world to have a complete series of notes printed on polymer. 

The Daily Mail Australia said on Jan. 22 that the polymer is manufactured by an Australian company called CCL Secure, which exports it in the form of granules that are melted to form sheets. CCL said that a supplier included the ingredient and they would “not knowingly add any animal ingredients into our products.” It added that they were trying not to use tallow, “but it’s a very difficult process.”

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