Warning: You Could Be Wearing Worms

Profile photo of CaseyRedd

Posted February 2, 2015 by Casey Redd

When I was younger, I played in the backyard constantly, making (vegan-friendly) dirt pies. I’d pick up rocks and watch earthworms squirm in fear as I accidentally destroyed their dark home beneath the rock. Silkworms aren’t much different from the earthworms I knew as a child.

They’re easily startled, and they feel pain—as all animals do.

Thousands of silkworms awaiting their death.Silk moth pupae | Nathan Nelson | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thousands of silkworms awaiting their death.

Growing is what silkworms do best—they grow to about 70 times their original size and shed their skin four times during a process called “molting.” And their cocoons are made from a single thread of silk that ranges from 900 to 3,000 feet long—that’s the length of three to ten football fields. After all of that, silkworms change into moths.

But worms who are used to make silk are steamed, boiled, or gassed—while they’re still ALIVE in their cocoons.

 1 pound of silk = 3,000 dead silkworms!
You could be wearing the product of a massacre and not even realize it.

Silkworms being placed in scalding hot water.Cleaned silk ready to spin | Nathan Nelson | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Silkworms being placed in scalding hot water.

Silk, which is made from the cocoons of silkworms, can be found in everyday clothing and essentials such as bed sheets, pillows, headscarves, dresses, and even hair-care products.

Coconut Hair Spray

That’s right—there could even be worm remnants in your hair. Disgustingly, a ton of shampoos are made with silk. So the next time your hair is feeling dull, liven it up with cruelty-free (and worm-free) products like this coconut oil hair spritz.

These li’l worms were meant to flutter around freely, but they’ll never get the chance to do so because their cocoon holds more importance than their lives—at least to those who buy and wear silk. But YOU can change that. Help these cuties grow into moths as nature intended.

What can you do to help?

It’s simple! Before purchasing bed sheets, pillows, that prom dress you saw in a store window last week, new hair-care products, or a tie for your dad, be sure to check the item’s tag for silk (look for alternatives such as satin, nylon, polyester or rayon instead). You could avoid wearing dead bugs AND save thousands of living beings just by flipping over a label.

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  • Profile photo of CammySuki

    631 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


    It’s so terrible people still buy silk-made products, and some even know what happens… why?

  • Profile photo of isakitahashi

    669 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


    Wow; thanks for the info. I had no idea the worms were killed when making silk.

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