Vegetarians and vegans have been up in arms this week over the news that the new £5 notes, introduced back in September, contain traces of animal fat.
The new polymer bank notes, which are a move away from our traditional paper notes, have a light, plastic feel, and are made with trace amounts of tallow – an animal fat also found in many candles and soap.
The inclusion of animal fat has caused such outrage that over 121,000 people have signed a Change.org petition urging the government to find an alternative way of producing them.
And now the inventor of the notes has hit back at the protestors, branding them “absolutely stupid” in a radio interview.
Professor David Solomon, an Australian inventor who pioneered the country’s polymer notes back in 1988, admitted to Australian radio show 2GB that there were “trivial amounts” of animal fat in the notes.
And discussing the fast-growing petition to have the animal fat removed, he said of protesters, “it’s stupid. It’s absolutely stupid.”
Solomon went on to list the benefits of the new polymer notes over the traditional paper ones, citing hygiene and the environment as main reasons for the switch-over.
“It picks up less drugs than paper notes and you don’t chop down trees,” he told the station. “It’s more hygenic than a paper note by a long way.”
However, those who have signed the online petition hope an alternative ingredient can be found.
“This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K.,” the petition states.