Factory Silk Production

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In the clothing industry today, silk is known to be the expensive and soft fabric that is used in tasteful and elegant clothing. The cloth, however, initially collected in Ancient Asia and Europe, has some disturbing history. 

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Silk is formed of the threads that certain insect larvae—such as moths, worms, and spiders—use to encapsulate their cocoons. These silk sheaths actually assist in protecting the larvae from external dangers, helping the young complete their individual metamorphoses.

In factory produced silk, the natural science production remains the same but with involves some difficult truths. The larvae continue to produce the silk as natural, but while in the wild the larvae burn holes in their shells, companies making silk for profit don’t allow these bugs to live long enough for this to happen. Instead, the cocoons are boiled so that the larvae die inside while the silk is easily gathered.

Not all types of silk involve the animal cruelty that can be witnessed when observing factory produced silk, but even this example of cruelty is, in some ways, thought of as beneficial to the people in those societies. Many countries in Asia, for instance, use dead caterpillars from these factories as snacks or ingredients for food. In North America, such a ritual and acceptance of brutality would be unheard of, and admittedly, reading the sources describing the taste and texture of the insects was a quite difficult task.

The question remains: is it right for us to utilize the byproduct of torture? Is it fashionable to murder an innocent insect that would otherwise assist in helping our environment? And finally, if we as people can overlook the ‘small’ atrocities done to other beings, what horrors done to us have we overlooked because they were considered minute?

Article by Lindsay Demarco 

Abigail ManginComment