Beef fat in £5 note angers temples

By Olivia Mumby, Yousuf Ali, Ollie Churm, Gideon Umunna and Liam Connell

Two Hindu temples in Leicester have taken a stance against the new £5 note on religious grounds.

The Shree Hindu Temple and Community Centre, in St Barnabas Road, and the Shree Sanatan Mandir Temple, in Weymouth Street, are urging people not to make donations using the new note.

Nor do they want worshippers to use it inside their buildings as it may contain cow products, an animal seen as being holy.

The new £5 note has been revealed to contain tallow, an animal product, which has caused widespread controversy.

The furore began with vegetarians and vegans complaining about the unnecessary use of tallow and saying they do not want to carry money containing animal fat.

Kiranbhai Padhva, a priest at the Shree Hindu Temple, said: “Because we are vegetarian and we put vegetarian food in front of God in these ceremonies, we don’t want any sort of animal fat to go in front of God.”

He added: “I strongly believe that there should be no use of animal fat or animal meats [in places of worship].”

Shri Satish K Sharma, General Secretary of the National Council of Hindu Temples UK, said: “Hindu temples do not want animal fat inside their temples. We believe in non-violence, so when you think about animal fat being put in money, that is against our principles of non-violence.”


Barclays Bank, on its website, said: “We are aware of some people’s concerns about traces of tallow in our new £5 note.

“We respect those concerns and are treating them with the utmost seriousness.

“This issue has only just come to light, and the Bank did not know about it when the contract was signed.”

The Bank added there is only a trace of tallow in each note and it has not been specified what animals the tallow is derived from.

Tallow is a hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat, used to make many common products such as candles and soap.

It is used as a “slip agent” which is essentially a grease, that stops the plastic from sticking to other things during production and also gives the material its final consistency and appearance.

Many say it is not necessary as vegetable oil can be used, and during the BSE crisis of the 1990s and early 2000s, manufacturers sought to replace beef tallow with other products.

The Bank of England said its supplier is working on “potential solutions” after more than 100,000 people signed a petition calling on them to remove a derivative of animal fat.

In the meantime, both Shree Sanatan Mandir temple and Shree Hindu temple said they would reluctantly agree to accept the new £5 note in donations.

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