Silk is the fibre that silkworms weave to make cocoons. The so-called “silkworm” is actually a domesticated insect who, in nature, goes through the same stages of metamorphosis – egg, larval, pupal and adult – that all moths do. Silk is derived from the cocoons of larvae, so most of the insects raised by the industry don’t live past the pupal stage, as they are steamed or gassed alive inside their cocoons.
Approximately 6,600 silkworms die to make every kilogram of silk.
While worms can’t show their distress in ways that humans easily recognise, such as screaming, anyone who has ever seen earthworms startled when their dark homes are uncovered must acknowledge that worms are sensitive; they produce endorphins and have a physical response to pain.