A Hindu organisation has urged the Reserve Bank of Australia to print “beef-free” bank notes and has taken objection to cow fat being used in their production, the Daily Mail Australia reported on Tuesday. New $20 notes are due to be introduced this year and $100 notes next year.
Tallow, rendered from beef fat, is used as a “slip agent” to keep the notes anti-static, the Bank of England said on Twitter in 2016. It added that there was a “trace” amount of the substance in its polymer notes. At the time, news site SBS reported that Australian bank notes also contained tallow.
In a letter to the Australian Central Bank, Rajan Zed, the President of the United States-based Universal Society of Hinduism, asked officials to “show respect to the feelings of Hindus and come up with a banknote production process that does not use beef as an ingredient”.
He also sought Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s intervention, saying it was “highly insensitive on the part of the RBA to continue with reportedly beef-laced banknotes”.
Zed said the consumption of beef is “highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs and it is certainly banned from entering Hindu religious centres”.
“The RBA should have been wise and literate enough to look into the religious sensitivities of its consumers (sic) before investing so much money and effort into the production of polymer banknotes,” wrote Zed. He said one of the the central bank’s values was to serve public interest, which should be followed.
Last month, Zed got a British brewery to stop using the Hindu symbol of Om on its beer bottles. The Cheshire Brewhouse apologised and promised to change the imagery on its “Govinda’ Indian Pale Ale’s labels.