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Leather briefcaseFashionable cattle nappa handbagHandbags and soccer players. Ha ha!Cow. Of course.




Cow or cattle leather

Cow out in the field
Cow out in the field

The cow still holds the number one spot for source of leather and still remains. Where there is a need for beef, we will always have leather made from cow hides.

Most common leather are natural by-products from the beef/dairy industry. At present, there are other alternatives to cow leather and these are made artificially (the word is "synthetic"). The purpose for these synthetics is that it's cheaper than real leather. In this present times, there will always be a certain group of people that needs cheaper alternatives and are not choosy about leather products. Anyway, some information that can be useful. Please read below.

Stuff to Know

Cattle (Bos taurus, the European cattle, including similar types from Africa and Asia; Bos indicus, the zebu; and the extinct Bos primigenius, the aurochs).
Maximum size & weight:
The largest and heaviest cow is the Chianina breed. They can reach to 5.9 ft (180 cm) high. The heaviest on record (1995) was a Chianina bull at 3,836 lbs (1,740 kg).
Maximum age:
The oldest cow on record is a Swiss brown, 55 years, by the name of Grandma Mooses owned by Sonny Liston Farms (Weedsport, New York, USA).
No, they're not protected.
Where it lives in the wild
Cattle all over the world are 99% domesticated. The remaining wild cattle are reported to be found in the African Serengeti (Milkis alotus).
Where is it farmed?
In cattle ranches all over the world.
Dangerous to humans?
Generally, no. Some types called bulls may be dangerous. Note: Do not tease, aggravate or annoy the bull.
Afraid of humans?
Normally not afraid of humans.
People injured yearly
Well, you know, there's this thing called the Bull Run that happens each year in Pamplona, Spain. From the records, there were 13 injuries.
People killed yearly by
Casualties from the Bull Run mentioned? The mayor of Pamplona claims that there are no fatalities (but touches wood).
Is meat edible?
Oh yes, of course! The meat is called beef.
Taste of meat
Delicious! If cooked poorly, can be tough and stringy. But if a master chef makes steak, now that's something.
Living habits:
They graze (eat grass). After grazing, they may sit and chew their cud (looks like they are chewing gum).
Eating habits:
Guess. Correct. Cows eat grass. They also eat hay, shrubs and flowers. Just keep them safely away from your vegetable or flower garden.
Farming style:
Cattle are raised in ranches or in dairy farms depending on the end product. They can be raised for meat alone, for milk or for both.
Harversting weight and size:
Beef cattle get sent to market between 14 to 18 months. At that time, they should weigh between 1100 to 1200 pounds (500 to 544 kg).
Skin processing:

The skin is separated from the flesh of the cattle. This, of course, happens at the meat factory.

Then it is soaked in water to remove dirt, blood, salt and other excess fats. The animal hide is fleshed; the flesh is removed from the surface of the hide. Usually this process is done by machines.

The hairs need to be removed. This is done by soaking the hide in a lime solution. This action loosens the hair from the skin. Then the hide is scudded; removing of the hairs by using a dull knife (this process is usually automated by machines).

When that is done, the lime should be removed (deliming). Then it is ready for tanning.

The tanning process may differ depending on the required end-product. Vegetable or natural tanning will produce stiff but flexible leathers suited for luggages, furniture, leashes, belts and similar items. The compound used are usually organic and they contain tannin (you guessed it, this is where we get the term "leather tanning"). Tannin comes from bark, leaves, wood and fruit of chestnut, oakwood trees, hemlock trees.

Then there is mineral tanning which uses mineral compounds; chrome for example. The resulting skins will be soft and stretchier. These are used to produce purses, bags, briefcases, shoes, gloves, boots, jackets, etc.

Leather durability:
Oh they are durable. The color is usually brown to dark brown. The leather can last a long time.
Leather softness:
Normally, the leather is not soft. There are varieties that come from cattle that are soft. Suede is the split from the hide. Nubuck is similar in softness.
Other Leather features:
Mostly smooth and polished. Suede and nubuck are different; they are soft like textile (think fuzzy).
Leather relative value (1-10) in finished products.

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