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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion oped editorial

EDITORIAL: Traces of animal fat in British banknotes spark uproar

The Bank of England has been receiving severe criticism over a recent announcement concerning the new £5 note.

To make notes cleaner and more durable, the Bank has begun manufacturing these notes using tallow. Tallow, an ingredient in many soaps and candles, contains animal fat, and given their commitment to not killing animals, many vegans and vegetarians are infuriated.

While it makes sense that citizens so concerned with animal rights are taking the banner against animal product in official notes, the outcry is a bit over the top. After all, while tallow is a product of animal fat, it’s something present in thousands of other products in a variety of facets of life. Crayons, candles, plastic bags and even toothpaste contain tallow, so most omnivorous citizens, as well as a number of their vegetarian counterparts, use products containing tallow on a daily basis.

Plus, in using these banknotes, citizens aren’t directly contributing to the slaughter of animals in the same way that consuming meat does. When used, a note isn’t consumed. It is simply transferred, so while the initial printing may have required new animal fat, using the bills has no bearing on the death of an animal. So if vegans had spoken out before these bills were out, that could have been productive. At this point, it’s simply unnecessary noise.

There are hundreds of legitimate concerns for animal lovers to worry about. A banknote is a trivial matter beside companies that raise animals in abhorrent conditions.

Rather than crying foul at a government attempt to strengthen their currency (literally), activists should have their eyes on more pressing concerns.

While a small segment of the population is extremely concerned with the plight of animals and is accordingly disgusted with this note, many of these activists so concerned over the presence of tallow in their bill disregard the tallow in an assortment of other non-vegan products. This is simply a case of people wanting something to be concerned about, and finding that in a trivial government misstep.

For some context, statistically speaking, 90 percent of U.S. bills contain trace amounts of cocaine because of involvement with the drug trade. By using a U.S. bill, the average American citizen has as much a connection to the drug trade as the average £5 spender does to the slaughter of animals.

That’s to say, none. So in using these new bills, there’s nothing for vegans to worry about, as there’s no blood on their hands.

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