Today in Is It Ok To, we’re talking silk. You might not be able to afford it anyway (my favourite kind of #accidentallyvegan), but if you can, there are a lot of reasons why you should definitely steer clear.
No, silk isn’t an animal skin or hide, but if you thought that silk production doesn’t involve the murder of silkworms, you’d be wrong. The fibre, which silkworms weave to create their cocoons so they can turn into moths, is usually taken by force during the worms’ vulnerable pupal stage, where they’re prematurely forced out of their cocoons.
After their silk has been taken, PETA have seen the moths who emerged from the cocoons crushed after they lay their eggs, and males discarded after they’ve done their job and mated with a female. That’s if the silkworms aren’t boiled or gassed alive inside their cocoons, before the ‘valuable’ fabric is harvested as a single, ‘perfect’ thread. Apparently the gas helps to unravel the cocoons…but that’s really no excuse.
To put things into perspective, around 6,600 silkworms are killed to make just 1kg of silk – and yes, they do feel pain. If my (very quick) calculations are correct, a knee-length dress would need about 3kg of silk, meaning on top of its price, it’ll also have cost 19,800 silkworms. As Indian myself, I dread to think how many silkworms have been killed making Indian suits and saris…
On their website, PETA also pick up on ‘peace silk’, which is supposedly silk collected after moths have naturally emerged from their cocoon. A nice idea in theory, but until there are stricter regulations put in place to monitor ‘peace silk’, you can’t be sure.
So when you’re shopping, keep an eye on dresses, skirts, ties, handkerchiefs, scarves and Indian clothing, but don’t forget to watch out for linings in handbags, hats and clothes, too.
For more tips on going cruelty-free when it comes to your wardrobe, check out my handy guide on vegan fashion shopping right here.