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The Dark and Disturbing World of Silk

February 5, 2014

Source DxE Cassie King YouTube

Please note the initial Care2-specific links have been disabled by Care2, perhaps due to the age of the article, but the links that direct to other sources are intact; I included the above recent video for additional reference. Please also see Animals As Fabric by Be Fair Be Vegan.

Please also note that the original article contained a section about “peace silk” or “ahimsa silk” as a “humane alternative”, which is false considering exploitatively using any animal requires unwilling victims. I have therefore corrected that error by removing that statement. SL

Source Care2

Care2 Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, brought back by popular demand. It was originally published on June 21, 2013.

It’s pretty obvious why some people choose not to eat meat or wear fur, but why someone wouldn’t use silk is just plain baffling to most. So here’s the deal.

When we think of silk we imagine beautiful gowns, delicate underwear and lavish furnishings, what we definitely don’t picture is live silk worms being plunged into vats of boiling water. And why would we? This certainly isn’t going to make us want to reach for our wallets, instead it is likely to make us reel with disgust.

The Plight of the Silk Worm

Just like cows, chickens and pigs, silk worms are domesticated, raised and bred on factory farms and are also killed by the hundreds of millions every year. To make one single pound of silk 2000-3000 worms have to be slaughtered.

Just prior to the metamorphosis stage where Bombyx Mori silk worms transform into moths, they spin fibers to create their cocoons. Naturally, the moth would chew its way out of this cocoon once the transformation is complete, but the problem this poses to the silk manufacturing industry is this natural development would result in chewed silk strands that are much shorter and less valuable than the intact cocoon. Which is why when the silk worms are in their pupa stage after being fed a strict diet of mulberry leaves, they are placed while still alive into boiling hot water, killing them and starting the process of unraveling the cocoon to produce silk.

Ahisma is another method of silk production that don’t include death for the silk worms. Although not resulting in death, there are still ethical issues surrounding the domestication and farming, such as adult moths being unable to fly because their bodies are too large and males unable to eat due to undeveloped mouth parts.

Some among us will try to claim that silk worms don’t matter and that they are just insects. While it’s true that we have a limited depth of understanding about insects, what we do know is that they have the capacity to feel and the right to live free from pain and suffering.

Other Alternatives

If you prefer to avoid animal products altogether (because why wouldn’t you? Please see Animals Are Not Ours To Wear for facts and alternative options. SL), there are other alternatives available. Lyocell, silk cotton, ceiba tree filaments and milkweed seed pod fibers are all eco friendly options worth exploring.

The dark and disturbing world of silk worms isn’t one that gets much media coverage, because the industry believes that we simply don’t care enough to care, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You can reject these inhumane practices and opt to buy cruelty free alternatives instead. We do not need to exploit insects, or any other animal for that matter, and no amount of whitewashing will justify using these tiny beings as resources for our own ends.

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silk…to some a luxurious treat,
but in reality it is a web
of deceit!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

11 Comments leave one →
  1. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    February 5, 2014 11:22 am

    silk…to some a luxurious treat,
    but in reality it is a web
    of deceit!


  2. February 5, 2014 12:38 pm

    Wonderful, I love it, thanks, hon!


  3. narhvalur permalink
    February 5, 2014 4:04 pm

    Reblogged this on Ann Novek–With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors.


  4. February 6, 2014 11:58 am

    Reblogged this on Wolf Is My Soul.


  5. February 6, 2014 12:36 pm

    Reblogged this on The Monsters Among Us and commented:
    Thanks Stacey


  6. February 6, 2014 1:50 pm

    I had no idea that silk was cruel. It is a pity that insects are often overlooked when it comes to animal rights.


  7. February 23, 2014 12:27 pm

    Reblogged this on "OUR WORLD".



  1. The Dark and Disturbing World of Silk. Via ‘Our Compass’. – World Animals Voice

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