Thursday, December 01, 2016

Do the people who are protesting about £5 notes make a habit of eating them?

I can understand why the suggestion that cartridges issued to British Sepoy units in India were greased with animal fat from pigs or cows helped touch off the Indian Mutiny in 1857.

In the 19th century, to load a firearm such as the new pattern 1853 Enfield rifled musket with a cartridge, you had to bite it. A reasonable person can see how Hindus who have a moral objection to eating cows which they see as sacred, or Muslims who object to eating pigs which their religion classes as unclean, might have an problem with that.

One could also understand if a vegetarian had a similar position with biting into a cartridge greased with animal fat.

But why on earth would anyone need to put the Bank of England's new plastic five pound notes anywhere near their mouth?

Surely the vegetarians and vegans who have written demanding that these notes should be destroyed because a very small amount of tallow is used in the process of creating the polymer they are made from do not eat five pound notes?

Innovia, the company that makes the banknotes said it used the substance to give the notes their anti-static and anti-slip properties, and pointed out that thousands of products contain tallow. It could not confirm which animals the fat had come from.

I really don't see that this should be a problem, but if anyone reading this objects to holding the new polymer five pound note and wants to get rid of your stock of them, please feel free to send them to me and I will be very happy to find an alternative use for them for you.


Jim said...

When I was on a tour in the Falkland Islands there was a Muslim from the Royal Navy who also worked on the transmitter site, where I did. Its remote (12 miles from Mount Pleasant Airfield (MPA - the main site where the mess and things were) and transmitters had to be manned 24/7. We had our own kitchen at the transmitter site and each week were given a few boxes of rations (meat, tins of food, veg etc)

Not only would he not eat pork, he would also not eat any of the other red meats as he had not seen evidence that it was halal. But he also would not help carry the rations in case he accidentally touched it.

He also would not go into a bar which was open, and would not touch sealed cans of beer. It may have just been his way out of doing some jobs, but, he did claim it was against the rules of his religion for a muslim to even make contact with pork or Beer.

I guess some vegans feel the same way about things so for example would not wear leather shoes.

Jim said...

We could make the notes using vegetable fat I guess. Helping everyone get their fiver day :-)

- Sorry

Chris Whiteside said...

Groan (terrible joke about fiver day)

Appreciate what you are saying about your Muslim colleague.

Avoiding even touching products with the tiniest amount of animal fat would be just about impossible to do, though. As I said in the main post there are thousands of them and it is practically impossible to know whether a given item has any animal fat content however small or what animal it has come from.

But the list of things to avoid would start with soap, toothpaste, candles, crayons, almost anything made of latex, detergents, plastic bags ...

Jim said...

Thats just it though isn't it. I wonder how many of the people who object to using the new £5 note, instead will reach into their leather wallets, pull out a plastic credit or debit card, pay with that, then carry their veg home in a carrier bag. possibly driving it home in a car with leather seats.

Chris Whiteside said...

You are of course entirely right.

If there were any way to verify it I would love the opportunity to bet the organisers of the petition that 99% of those who signed it have done at least one of those things.

And whether you go home in a car or on public transport it is overwhelmingly probable that the seat you sit on will be either leather or some form of plastic and therefore that the manufacture of your seat will have involved some form of animal product.