The new £1 coin drops tomorrow, but did you know that the £5 note is not suitable for vegetarians?


Tomorrow the new 12-sided £1 enters circulation for the first time. The old coins, of which around 3 per cent currently in use are fake, will be permanently phased out by October 15.

But did you know that other most recent addition to the UK’s legal tender isn’t vegetarian?

The reason: the £5 notes contain tallow, a substance derived from animal fat. Even though VICE estimated that every note of the 329 million in circulation combined would only contain about half a cow, a petition to remove tallow from future fivers has already gained 130,000 signatures – more than petitions about badger culls and the ivory trade.

Brixton vegan restaurant VegBar have even announced they won’t be accepting the notes “to stay true to the cause,” and others are following suit. But why stop the outrage there? Here are some other things you’ll have to ban if you want to keep your conscience clean.

Don’t use Worcestershire sauce

You’d be surprised how many people don’t know that the key ingredient in Lea & Perrins is. It’s anchovy, in case you’re one of them.

Don’t use carrier bags

Carrier bags often contain chicken fat, used to make them slippier so they don’t stick together during manufacture. Maybe just get a Bag for Life, yeah.


Don’t use tampons either

While tampons may not contain animal products per se, they have a rocky history of being tested on animals. They’re bleached with chlorine, which is used in animal testing – and sometimes they’re directly tested on animals. As in, put inside rabbits.

Don’t eat bananas

The spray that’s used to extend the shelf-life of bananas contains a bacteria-fighting compound called chitosan, which is taken from crab and shrimp shells.


And don’t use soap

Haven’t you seen Fight Club? When human fat isn’t available, animal fat is used to make the stuff you rub all over yourself in the shower.

Definitely don’t use sugar

How does white sugar get so white? Why, “natural carbon” obviously – or “bone char,” to use its other name. Yeah, it means charred cattle bones.

Brown sugar is just as bad, too, because it’s most often processed the same and then darkened with molasses. Is nothing sacred?


Avoid paint at all costs

Vegan artists of the world, beware: a lot of paints aren’t vegetarian. Ox gall from cow livers is used as a wetting agent in watercolour paints, animal bones are ground down to create ivory black colours and squid ink sacs are used to create sepia tones.

Don’t drink beer

It’s a well-known fact among vegetarians that some beers aren’t vegetarian because they’re filtered through isinglass, which comes from the bladders of certain freshwater fish. So yes, a sturgeon may essentially have pissed out your pint.


Stop playing the violin

Animal glue, made from boiling animal bone and tissue, is the best adhesive for sticking together wooden instruments like pianos, cellos, acoustic guitars and violins. So you can’t even tinkle the ivories without hurting the animal kingdom.

And drawing with crayons

You know that really distinctive smell you get from crayons? Yeah, it’s beef fat.


Don’t ride a bike

A favourite among the socially conscious, bike tyres actually contain stearic acid, derived from animal fat. So while you may be helping the environment, if you want a clear conscience it may be better  to walk.

Or set off fireworks

Stearic acid is also often used in fireworks, but if you care about animals you shouldn’t be using them anyway because have you seen how scared they make dogs?

Or use condoms

Yep, a lot of latex products contain glycerin. Before 1900 people used to wrap their willies with lamb intestines, though, so it could be worse.


And definitely, definitely don’t eat vanilla ice cream

We shit you not, but one of the flavourings used in a lot of vanilla ice cream is a fragrant slime scraped from a beaver’s arsehole. Seriously, it’s called castoreum – look it up.