Vegan Hippo cafe to boycott new Jane Austen banknotes

A vegan cafe which boycotted the plastic £5 note for containing animal fat will now refuse to accept the Jane Austen banknote which released in circulation today.

But the owner of Vegan Hippo, a plant-based cafe in Soho, London, admitted it will be hard to stick to its values when the new £20 arrives in 2020.   

The tender, released into circulation today, has reignited the debate over animal rights as the Bank of England refused to change their ingredients for the new banknotes. 

Restaurant owner Gosia Piskular, 35, told MailOnline she didn’t care if it was against the law, they would refuse to accept £5 or the new £10 note on the grounds of animal rights.  

Controversy: Vegan Hippo in Soho, London, is the first known cafe to boycott the brand new £10 note

She said: ‘If someone is forcing us to accept a product which contains animal, we won’t do it – even if it’s against the law. 

‘It is completely unnecessary to use tallow and goes against our views. We are all about animal rights and that’s what we want to promote.’

Animal activists erupted hit out in September last year when it was discovered the new note contained tallow. 

The new polymer notes use beef tallow made from suet, which is hard fat found around an animal’s kidneys, stomach and other organs.

Ms Piskular said it was inhumane but admitted the change in tender would negatively impact her cafe.

She said: ‘It will affect our business because it limits people. Customers will only be able to pay with a £20 note at the moment or card.’

When asked what she thought about Jane Austen’s portrait on the note, she said: ‘I don’t care who is on the note, I just care about whether it contains animal fat.’  

The 35-year-old businesswoman became a vegan four years ago after watching an enlightening programme about the way humans treated animals.

She said: ‘I watched a documentary and never looked back, the next day I became vegan.’

The popular café has been open for four years and has a 4.5 star rating on Google.

It isn’t the first time its owners has courted controversy with them speaking out about their refusal to accept £5 when they were introduced in September.   

The Bank of England said in August that they had ‘not taken this decision lightly’ to continue using tallow in the plastic notes.

They launched a public consultation, which found 88 per cent of people were against using animal-derived products and 48 per cent objects to the alternative option, palm oil.

Their previous statement said: ‘The Bank fully recognises the concerns raised by members of the public, both prior to and during the consultation.

‘The Bank has had to balance these responses against its other public duties and priorities as well as the other evidence gathered over the past months.’

The Bank of England has been contacted for comment.