Silk caterpillars are killed by scalding them alive in boiling water!
To make the fine fabric, the still pupated silkworms are boiled.
1.6 trillion silkworms are killed in the clothing industry every year.
Find out everything about the cruel production of silk and what animal-friendly alternatives there are!
How is silk made?
Silk is an animal fiber that mainly consists of proteins.
The material is made in small glands in the mouth of the silk moth.
The caterpillar wraps itself in it and forms a protective cocoon around its body.
It then pupates and turns into a butterfly.
In order for the silk to be used economically, the silkworm was domesticated in China over 5,000 years ago.
This gave rise to the mulberry moth with the name Bombyx mori. It was bred for high performance, feeds mainly on mulberry leaves and is not able to survive in nature because it is extremely sensitive to changes in its environment such as temperature fluctuations.
In order to be able to better control the animals, their ability to fly was also bred away.
In addition to the mulberry moth, other types of butterflies such as the Japanese oak silk moth are used, but their cocoons only make up a small part of the silk traded worldwide.
Are silkworms killed?
Glands in the silk moth’s mouth produce the popular silk.
The animal wraps itself in this and so wraps itself in its cocoon. Normally, after its metamorphosis, the butterfly would bite through the cocoon and hatch. In the case of the silk spinners, however, this does not happen.
The spun larvae are killed with hot water, hot air or in the microwave before hatching. The cocoons are then placed in a hot water bath so that the glue that holds the silk threads together is released. The thread can then be unwound and is ready for further processing. In the helpless attempt to escape death, the animals are visibly writhing in their cocoons.
The dead animals are disposed of as waste or, in some cases, offered for consumption. A few animals are allowed to hatch from their cocoons to mate and lay new eggs that are needed for offspring.
Unnecessary eggs are destroyed or frozen.
Male animals are often kept in freezers and only brought out for fertilization. If they are no longer efficient, they are disposed of like garbage after mating.
The dolls killed in the water bath are also disposed of and, in some countries such as Korea, also eaten.
Since around 15 animals are killed for one gram of silk, this means the death of more than 1.6 trillion caterpillars annually with a worldwide production of 109,111 tons of silk (as of 2019).
Depending on the country of production, 10 to 47 percent of caterpillars die from disease, which leads to millions more dead creatures.
Where does the silk come from?
Most of the silkworms are bred in China, India and Uzbekistan.
After the silk moths have been killed, the silk threads are rolled up into a thread by machine or by hand, cleaned in an elaborate manner and freed from the natural adhesive residues of the silk moths.
The silk is then dyed, processed and sold as clothing, accessories or carpets in stores around the world.
Although the production of silk kills over 1.6 trillion caterpillars, it only makes up 0.2 percent of all textile fibers.
Is silk cruelty to animals?
So far, the ability of invertebrates to suffer has not been researched well – the simplified answer is therefore: We do not yet know exactly whether and how caterpillars and butterflies perceive pain.
However, it is known that some insects show pain-avoiding behavior and avoid negative stimuli.
For a long time, even lobsters were denied the sensation of pain.
Today we know that lobsters feel it very well when they are thrown into boiling water.
Due to the increasing knowledge about the pain perception of invertebrates such as insects, it is our responsibility to also protect the silkworm from suffering, pain and death.
If a cat were to be cooked alive, most people would feel pity and indignation, while they leave the same scenario with a caterpillar indifferent because it cannot scream and we know little about its emotional world so far.
Alternatives to silk
If you don’t want to scald someone alive for silk, you can fall back on a range of plant-based and synthetic fabrics.
Almost all textile and fashion manufacturers offer microfibres such as nylon or polyester, which perfectly imitate the sheen of silk.
The flora also has a lot to offer. Pima cotton is particularly fine and impresses with its shimmering surface. Kapok, agave fibers and soy silk can also be processed into delicate fabrics.
And I mean…So it becomes clear that silk is an animal cruel product of the worst kind.. The animals are cooked alive in their own cocoon.
Also, after the female caterpillars have laid eggs for the next generation, they are slit open to check for any pathogens.
The term “organic silk” sounds nice, but only means that the mulberry trees are grown organically, the caterpillars are still cooked.
It is not just animal cruelty that characterizes silk production
Lots of shotcrete and pesticides are used to grow the mulberry leaf feed.
This measure kills other insects that would also eat mulberry leaves.
As a result, the silk industry is a massive waste of resources with a major impact on the ecosystem.
And is responsible for massive animal suffering.
Don’t buy silk.
My best regards to all, Venus