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Vegetable-Tanned Cowhide Rugs Howdy Hides 2.jpg

Vegetable-Tanned Hair-on Cowhides
are Rare and Unique

Have you ever purchased a hide and wondered why it didn't feel, appear, or smell quite right?

Or wondered why the edges of the hide kept curling up?

It’s because the hide was not vegetable tanned. Instead, like 99% of the hides sold in the US, the hide was tanned using harsh chemicals that are hard on the hide and hard on the planet.

Vegetable-Tanned or Chemically Tanned?

Less than 1% of the hair-on cowhides sold in America use environmentally safe vegetable tanning.

It’s much faster and cheaper to slam hides into a vat filled with the heavy metal chromium for the tanning process than using the age-old artisan process of vegetable tanning.

Vegetable tanning doesn’t use superfund chemicals. Instead, it uses the natural tannins from the bark of a few select tree types. After the cowhide is tanned, the leftover tannins can be used as fertilizer.

While vegetable tanning creates fertilizer, the chemical tanning process creates vast amounts of toxic waste.


Communities surrounding chemical tanning facilities have been devastated, with their farmland and water deeply polluted.

Over the course of human history, we didn't destroy communities to produce hides. For over 8,000 years, vegetable tanning was the only method for tanning hides.

In the mid-1850s, it was discovered using chromium was faster and cheaper to produce tanned hides. To tan a hide using vegetable tanning takes 45-60 days. Using chromium, tanning a hide requires only a day.

The economics of chromium tanning meant hides could be produced in a fraction of the time and cost. Chromium became the standard, leaving the vegetable tanning to a few families carrying on the tradition.

You get what you pay for!

Our cowhides have a soft feel and radiant shine that comes from within. Words will often cheapen the experience of the hides, but you'll have generations to describe the unique experience they produce for you. 

Whether you're using the hide as a rug, throw, or a wall decoration, every day you'll see and feel its quality. Time doesn't stand still, but our hides have stood the test of time, for over 8,000 years.

Questions? Call us at 323-717-8970, M-F 9 to 6 PM EST,

or email us here.

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