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Vegan Bow "Makeover"

Animal welfare has always been a priority at Cardiff Violins.  For many years we have taken donations to SPANA (a charity supporting working animals) as payment for small repairs.  We also source products that are as ethically produced as possible, whilst requesting suppliers and makers abandon cruel practices that are unfortunately standard in the industry, such as harvesting skin from live reptiles for bows.

Over the years, there has been an increasing demand from customers for items free from animal products.  Some are concerned about animal welfare and would prefer ethically sourced items, however some are vegan and refuse to purchase anything animal based.  To meet this demand we have introduced a bow "makeover" that will replace all animal sourced parts with synthetic or ebony replacements.

Here is the full transformation!

The reptile skin lap has been replaced with a comfortable foam thumb pad. 
If you would prefer, it is possible to use a synthetic lap instead.

Ivory and bone tips are replaced with plastic.  The horse hair has been replaced with Coruss synthetic hair.

The mother of pearl slide has been replaced with an ebony one.  The bow is now entirely vegan!



It had always been one of my ambitions in life to be able to play the viola.  However as a long time vegetarian turned vegan, I soon found that there were particular obstacles that prevented me from obtaining an instrument.  In particular, I found it VERY difficult to find a bow anywhere that was completely free of animal products.  The hair on the bow was from slaughtered horses, the slide or eye made from abalone and mother of pearl(also exploited by cruel practices), and other materials such as leather, snakeskin, bone and sometimes even ivory.  My heart sank - perhaps playing this instrument was never to be.

But I don't give up so easily, and I'm glad I didn't.  After a few e-mails to different music shops I learned that many student instruments tend to use a low melting point resin glue rather than animal hide glue.  This was good news - now if only I could find a bow that used synthetic strings…

It was then that I stumbled across Coruss hair on the Cardiff Violins website.  At last, synthetic bow hair for the viola!  It DID exist!  I was so excited - I got in touch with Cardiff Violins immediately about buying an outfit from them with a completely customized bow.  Being vegetarians themselves, they completely understood my problem.  They were extremely helpful and more than happy to fulfil my needs, replacing the horsehair with Coruss hair, removing the leather thumbgrip and shell, and replacing the slide with ebony instead.  They did an absolutely AMAZING job, and without their help I would probably never have had the chance to play.  Thank you so much Cardiff Violins!

Rosie Smith

Discovering Cardiff Violins is like finding your favourite piece of music. Cecile and Chris have a passion for their instruments and a genuine desire to encourage talent/dreams/commitment to music and indeed positivity. I bought a cello from them and being a vegan, I asked for the possibility of a vegan bow. Cecile went more than the extra mile to source materials to veganise a bow. Her patience and her own ethical thinking made this possible for me and now many more can enjoy the option of vegan bows. Guilt free and ethical playing sounds and feels so much better. It doesn't cost the earth or the innocent animals struggling to keep their corner of it.

Cardiff Violins are not just a business. Their involvement in charity work for animals and underprivileged children shows the customer that they have entered into the world of kind souls making a difference to music and life.

Zarina - West Yorkshire

For more information please contact us on 029 20 22 77 61 or email us at