The Reserve Bank is making inquiries to find out whether or not New Zealand's bank notes contain animal fat, as they do in the UK.

Vegans and vegetarians have expressed their outrage at the revelation that the the new £5 notes in the UK contain tallow, a substance made from animal fat that is often used in the making of soap and candles.

More than 60,000 people so far have signed a petition demanding that the substance is no longer used in the production of the currency.

The notes are made by currency supplier Innovia, which also produces New Zealand's money.
New Zealand's Reserve Bank said it making its own inquiries about the polymer used in its banknotes and was awaiting a formal statement from Innovia.


"Whilst the Reserve Bank receives assurance over the safety and quality of the product, the detailed chemical composition of the polymer remains the intellectual and commercial property of Innovia," the bank said in a statement.

"We have made our own enquiries about the polymer used in our banknotes, and we understand Innovia does not knowingly add any materials directly obtained from animal origin. However, their films contain small amounts of additives which may be produced from tallow (a substance made from rendered animal fat, ordinarily used in making candles and soap)."

The news in the UK has caused a great deal of heated discussion online.

"New £5 note isn't vegan. Was everyone's 2016 New Year's resolution to do ridiculously insane stuff like adding meat to money?" one commentator, Dan Hanks, wrote.

Another said: "So unnecessary in 2016! I will no longer be accepting these notes. Ironic I donated my first fiver to a Vegan sanctuary."

As a vegetarian I really find myself laughing at vegan-militant tweets. So now we shouldn't use the new £5 note coz it's not vegan? Get out," one user wrote.

The arrival of plastic banknotes in the UK meant Britain joined a list of more than 30 countries that already used them. Australia was the first to launch plastic notes in 1988, followed by countries including New Zealand and Singapore.

- with Daily Telegraph UK staff