Fury among vegetarians and vegans erupted following confirmation by the Bank of England that the new polymer notes, released in September, contain the suet derivative.
Doug Maw, of Keswick in Cumbria, started a petition against the use of tallow in the new £5 notes, which has garnered 5,000 signatures, and said he has been left “disgusted”.
“I understand old notes contain stuff as well – we can’t do anything about what is in circulation – but the fact they are producing new ones is what really riles me,” he told the Press Association.
“There is no excuse for it. There has got to be other ways of making money without using animal products.”
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The 47-year-old hotel worker, who has been a vegan for 20 years, said he will “absolutely” be boycotting and “refusing” the new notes.
Thousands have signed the petition since its creation on Monday. Mr Maw said he was “surprised” by how many people have committed their name to it.
“I don’t think anything will happen about what has already been made, but I just hope they produce new ones without using animal fats,” he said.
“It is the Bank of England – can’t they come up with something a little bit more modern? Now there’s a huge amount of people that eat a plant-based diet or are vegan. They are not just disrespecting a tiny minority.”
On the use of tallow, he said: “It is incredibly disrespectful – we have no choice with money. We have to use it. They issue it through ATMs and hand them to us in shops.
“If we refuse them and they haven’t got anything else, what are we going to do? Basically, we are being forced to have animal products on us.”
He said he has started a second petition on the UK Government petition site, which is awaiting authorisation, in a bid to get the issue debated and addressed.
A spokeswoman from the Bank of England said: “We can confirm that the polymer pellet from which the base substrate is made contains a trace of a substance known as tallow.
“Tallow is derived from animal fats (suet) and is a substance that is also widely used in the manufacture of candles and soap.”