Friday, January 15, 2010

What Do You Think?


I got an e-mail about yesterday's post regarding decorating with cowhide. The writer was very lovely, an animal lover, not a vegetarian, not an activist, just a nice girl queasy and concerned about using cowhides. She asked that I please post the question to the gentle readers, about how they deal with and feel about using cowhides.

I wrote her back and said for me that cowhide is another leather product, like a purse, or shoes, or a leather jacket, or furniture (like a leather chair or couch).

And in the comments yesterday, another reader raised the question about using cowhides.

It kind of reminds me of the same questions about using taxidermy and antlers as decorative accessories.

I love animals. I love a good steak once in awhile; I have a beautiful cowhide Kelly bag; you know I love decorating with cowhide rugs. I'm not from a cattle raising state like Texas, I'm a New York girl. My husband is from Argentina, and steaks and cowhides and beautiful leather goods are practically the national identity.

So chime in. What do think - how do you feel about using cowhides in your decor?

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any kind of rug that use to be an animal gives me the willies. Not a big fan of it.

Terri S.

La Petite Gallery said...

I am very much like you. I have a house full of Mounts as my husband went everywhere on Hunts.
We have Bear rugs, Huge Mountain lion. Horns from Africia, I quess a Cow is kinda like a pet. We raised Bellies from Scotland.
(Black cow with white Belt) here in Maine. I said jokingly lets take one to the slaughter house and stock the freezer, My husband became Gray faced, Like it was one of his horses.All the cows and horses had Names. So there is a difference.
Yvonne From TEXAS AND MAINE

La Petite Gallery said...

I want to thank you for putting my blog on your post. Hope I
answered that O.K.,
You should get alot of response.
I do love Porterhouse and Delmonico steaks.

Mrs. Limestone said...

I don't have a moral objection to it. And I think they look good in the right setting.

But actually touching one creeps me out a bit. So I guess I'd only like it in a place where I dont have to run my hands over it.

Renae said...

I have no problem in decorating with hides. My husband is an avid hunter and we have hides (elk, deer) hanging on the wall in our basement game room as well as a few mounted trophies.

Like you said, there are beautiful leather handbags and shoes, etc out there, why not use a hide for a beautiful rug?

xx

sketch42 said...

Arent antlers shed every year by the animals?

sketch42 said...

Arent antlers shed every year by the animals?

Kris said...

I'm not sure how I feel about a lot of this. I have recently gone veg (not vegan) but I haven't really thought about really looking into materials in man made products. I think I feel that if you NEED the item, then you are doing a service to the sacrifice that the animal made for you. But I think that fashion and the food industry has gotten out of hand when it comes to what we need to survive. Mass production is killing our planet and our people. But I don't judge people. There are so many opinions. Ok, off my soapbox now. Have a great weekend!

Sabina said...

I once bought a little cowhide covered stool from an artisan at Jazzfest. The reaction from the cat and dog was interesting. They sniffed it and then gave it a wide berth for a long time. I love the way cowhides look, they are beautiful. If people continue to eat beef, why shouldn't we use all of the animal? Thank you cows for all the good things you provide, like milk, butter, cheese..

Anonymous said...

Hides are interesting in some settings, a home in Wyoming for instance. Almost every blog is showing them which gives the overall effect of looking like they are produced at K-Mart. For that reason alone, I wouldn't want to use one.

my favorite and my best said...

cowhides are awesome. on the floor, on a cow...on a table...

Emily said...

Sabrina's comments are exactly how I feel too! I don't think cow's are being killed just so we can decorate with them! And yes, deer naturally shed their antlers, so why not bring them in and decorate with nature the way we do with rocks, natural grasses, etc. I'm not into taxidermy though.....creeps me out!

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

While we don't have any animal skin rugs in our home, we do have a GInormous trophy turkey posed as if in flight over the mantle at the farm and a number of deer trophies around and about. To each his own...

Amy said...

I love cowhide, but I feel bad about that....so I don't know what that says about me.
Oddly, any fur-esque things that I have in my house attract children who cannot stop petting them.

Alex said...

Cowhides look beautiful in other peoples homes, but not mine ever. Every time I see one in person I think of the poor animal & what it was used for - to decorate a home. Not for food, warmth, etc., but to DECORATE. I personally have an ethical problem with it.

Nancy said...

Uncomfortable, but I have no good reasons for that, and I would not be judgmental about anyone else using one.

Renee Finberg said...

funny...
i was going to comment on the cowhide post.
i am mixed on the subject. i have had horses as my pets and they are big like cows.
so....it is weird for me to see all that flesh and fur on the floor.
(my mom's house is filled with giant dead animals, on the walls, and on the floor - (as she stated above).
but the bear on the floor is a grizzly, and there is a mountain lion on a branch on the wall,
(among other creatures) but i am afraid of grizzly bears and mountain lions. so i figure as long as they are IN THE HOUSE i am glad they are dead.
it is just that horses and cows are so innocent.
i have wanted a cowhide zebra rug forever and a day....i have yet to get one because it is like 100 purses. right?

xxx

La Maison Fou said...

Interesting question, I will say that being a cattle / owner and rancher as well as a city gal.
Most hides are deemed as the by product of the animal, so they are not killed for their hides, yet a rendering facility will use everything it can for profit!

So, that being said, I do not have problems using the product for decor and design.
Is is queezy? It could be, but I also see the artistic side to the hide. Each is individual and unique much like a work of art.

In the end, it is a personal choice, one that you may live with!

Enjoyed this post,
Leslie

NYCLQ said...

If it works in a space: go for it! It's a form of recycling anyways... I mean the cattle is raised for farmers to sell the meat we eat... so why not put the skins to use as well?

From American indians to american designer RL... skins are classic!

:D Lynda
http://nyclq-focalpoint.blogspot.com/

Ms Smart said...

Yeah, gotta say, not for me, kinda creepy. No hides, heads, antlers, or wearing fur for Ms. Smart.

joanny said...

For me it is on the same scale as wearing "Fur Coats" it belongs on the animal not the floor or antlers hanging on the wall. Read about the slaughter houses in this country. a good read to start would be 'Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (Hardcover)
~ Temple Grandin(Author)

I think the point of our evolution has come to the critical mass -- we cannot afford to keep eating all this beef -- or farm raised aninals for slaughter -- go visit a meat packing slaughter house for a day - or just an hour if you can handle it then yeah go for it wear it eat, decorate with it...
Good Luck!
Joanny

J. M. Hunter said...

I think that you can decorate with animal products and still be conscientious.

My husband culls a deer (under very strict guidelines about age, size, etc...) from the population on my family's property every year in order to prevent overpopulation. It's both necessary and humane: He sends the meat to a processor and we use that meat rather than meat from a slaughterhouse or an animal raised in inhumane conditions. And it also provides us with antlers if we want to use them in decorating (I do NOT like a whole deer head staring down from my wall - it's just too creepy, but I do use a cap mount or two). We also decorate with antlers that the deer shed naturally that my husband finds in the woods.

As far as cow hides, you can purchase them from any rancher who raises free-range or pasture-raised livestock, either with the processed meat or without, as part of his/her attempt to use the whole cow and prevent waste. If you don't eat meat, then obviously it won't matter how the cows are raised since you oppose killing the animal either way, but if you do eat beef then this is a good way to support the local agriculture industry while also purchasing hide (and meat if you so choose) from an animal who was treated humanely during its lifetime. Much more humanely than the animal who provided the milk and eggs we purchase from the grocery store (depending on the brand).

Then again, while I happily decorate with cow hide, I wouldn't put a dogskin rug on my floor, or wear cat fur, or eat hamster meat so I guess it's all about perspective, right?

Anonymous said...

At the rate we are seeing hides (at least on some of the design blogs), I have to assume that many of them are synthetic. You can go to almost any outlet store and pick them up. The look is getting a bit too much exposure. They appear to be used in some regions of the country more so than others - Texas being one of them. I personally don't find them sophisticated for more formal living spaces.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Well...we eat the meat...might as well put the hide to good use too. Makes even MORE sense to me than just throwing it away.

The Blasphemous Fiendess said...

As an animal lover and vegan, I really an offended and disgusted by the animal hides and antlers that are so popular in home decor. I dislike tqxidermy-find it a little creepy-and could never live with it. I believe that we do not have the right to use animals as we please. I make every attempt to avoid animal products in my life.

mimi said...

Thank you, Valorie for so kindly gathering your reader's opinions together for me. I have to say they have been very helpful in my decision to not go with a cowhide rug- and it is no reflection on anyone who does- we all have our own tastes! As much as I appreciate the look, I guess it would be too hard for me to live with the idea (even though I wear leather and eat meat). I would just feel too guilty. I know I sound like a hypocrite but in the end, I just can't do it. Thanks everyone and especially Valorie.

todd haley said...

i am assuming that any and all parties who would express concern over using a cowhide in interior design - does not wear or own any leather good e.g. shoes/purses/belts - however,i once had seen a very soft cowhide that came in fairly small sizes - when i questioned the showroom salesperson about the hide size and the exceptional softness - i was informed that it was "unborn" calfskin and the cows were given meds to induce them into labor much too early basically aborting the calf - which resulted in blemish-free hides that were very soft - i said thank you but no - now there is a practice to be concerned about.