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  • Writer's pictureIsabel

Wearing silk means 1000s of silkworms are killed!

Silk has overtime been a well desired material seen as a luxurious item, representing wealth and status. It is worn by many or used in household items such as bed sheets. It is undoubtably a material which has a nice feel to it, but not such a nice feel on the conscience once you find out how silk is made.

That beautiful piece of clothing which feels so soft on your skin, actually comes from slaughtering masses of silkworms who are in the process of their metamorphosis, transforming from a silkworm into a silk moth.

How is silk made

The fibre of silk is made from silkworms when they create a cocoon around their transforming bodies on their journey turning into a silk moth. These beings will never see the light of day as a silk moth, since, once they are in their cocoon in transformation, the cocoon is put into boiling water, with the silkworm still alive inside and stirred around in the hot water until the cocoon untangles itself creating that soft material during which the worm falls dead to the bottom of the pot.

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Silkworm harvest

There are indoor silkworm farms, where silkworms are bred in mass.

Just like in the natural life cycle they start of as an egg, and it will take about 2 months to develop into a cocoon. During their time as a worm they feed on the indoor mulberry leaves (which are often sprayed with toxins) before they head into their new transformation. Once in the cocoon, they are trapped externally and boiled alive, thus they will never see life as a silk moth.

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Natural life cycle of a silkworm & silk moth

In nature a little egg turns into a silkworm and lives for about a month before it creates its cocoon in which it hibernates to proceed with its transformation. It stays in the cocoon for 10 days and when it is naturally ready it will come out through a small self-created hole in the cocoon and emerges as a silk moth.

Then it lives for only about 7-10 days as a moth during which time it finds a mate to produce eggs for the life cycle to continue.

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Some statistics

Wearing a small silk scarf means about 2500 silk moths have been slaughtered.

Around 3000 silkworms are killed to produce 0.5kg of silk.

1 silk tie: 130 silkworm cocoons.

1 silk pillowcase: 3000 cocoons.

1 silk sari: 10'000 silkworm cocoons.

These insects already have a very small life cycle and like every other being should have a right to naturally exist. Only because these insects are so small, this issue is less talked about with less awareness regarding this cruel manufacturing process.

Silkworms are part of our natural ecosystem and should not be harvested for the sake of consumption. There is a "cruel free" silk, known under the name Ahimsa silk, this type of production apparently is cruelty free since it is said during production they do not kill or harm the worm. However, this is nothing else than a standard case of greenwashing, as the silkworms are still harvested and not allowed to go through their natural lifecycle.

There are many alternatives such as organic cotton sateen, which has the same soft feeling, yet does not slaughter these animals and which are less harmful in terms of production.

Being boiled alive is a painful death and that's what these silkworms have to endure. Why? For the price of human materialism, fashion standards and consumerism.

It is so crucial to put aside our own egos and realize every being has a value and the price of consumerism and materialism should not be on the lives of other beings who are merely smaller and stand no chance surviving against the human.

How can you make a change to this? If you want to wear silk, pay attention to how it's manufactured ( be conscious ;) about your consumption) and purchase organic cotton sateen silk and continue spreading the message about this form of production.

We are generation change!

Enjoy, yours truly

© Isabel



Image © 1. Ivabalk Pixabay

Image © 2. Gilberto Mello Pixabay

Image © 3. GLady Pixabay

Image © 4. Netple21 Pixabay

Image © 5. Skittler Pixabay

Image © 6. Dan Burchmore / Pixabay


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