Halachically fit and mehudar (superior) "vegetarian Tefillin" -- meaning Tefillin that would be acceptable to most ethical-vegetarian Jews -- are now available by special order. To the best of my knowledge, this is a historical "first
Anyone who hesitates to fulfill this fundamental mitzvah of the Torah to don Tefillin every weekday due to apprehension that the animals used may have been subject to cruel handling may rest assured that Rabbi Rosenberg's "vegetarian Tefillin" reflect the utmost effort to eliminate this problem as far as humanly possible.
Rabbi Rosenberg's innovative project promises to save many well-meaning but negligent individuals from the category of "karkafta shelo manach tefillin / skulls that never wore tefillin," and are therefore subject to severe heavenly judgement, as is known, may Hashem spare us.
-- Rabbi Dovid Sears
After speaking to some big companies that I work with, they all said that they have no way of knowing what leather, etc., comes from which animals.
I decided to work in a different way: I'll go to some farms around
Tzefat, and ask them to call me when a cow dies. Or to buy an old or sick cow and have the farmer feed it till it dies Then I would go with a butcher and take the parts we need, then take it to Jerusalem to someone I know who makes Batim (the leather boxes and straps) by hand.
The Batim maker says that sometimes the Batim don't come out well, and we have to do everything all over again. This entails a lot of work and time.
If we make the Batim from these cows that died naturally, it would be a very big expense, so I have this way that I do it for vegetarians, that I make the Batim out of the sh'lil (baby calves that weren't born yet, Either they die by a miscarriage (stillbirth), or the mother gets injuried or otherwise dies of natural causes, and they find the calves inside.
However, they DON'T kill the mother for the babies.
The Batim don't come out as nice and strong as the reg Batim, but they are ok .
That takes care of the Batim. Now for the Parshiyos (parchments used for Tefillin, Mezuzot, etc.). I use parchment made from "sh'lil." (as explained above).
According to the great Kabbalistic books, this parchment is best to use
for Tefillin. It says great things about this parchment.
I have this one company that agreed to make these Batim for me, however it's a process of about six months.
The price of a Pair of Tefillin using these unique Batim is $800- that includes very nice Parshios that were checked by three sofrim and by computer,hand made Retzuos, and shipping. (there is an extra charge for more Mehudar Parshios)