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Silk worms are actually a type of caterpillar that spins silk cocoons around themselves after they turn approximately 1 month old.The silk that is used in forming these cocoons is actually hardened silkworm saliva that has been secreted from the silk worm's mouth. Within 2–3 days, the caterpillar spins about 1 mile of filament and is completely encased in a cocoon. The silk farmers then kill most caterpillars by heat, leaving some to metamorphose into moths to breed the next generation of caterpillars. Harvested cocoons are then soaked in boiling water to soften the sericin holding the silk fibers together in a cocoon shape. The fibers are then unwound to produce a continuous thread.




As the process of harvesting the silk from the cocoon kills the larvae, sericulture has been criticized by animal welfare and rights activists. Mohandas Gandhi was critical of silk production based on the Ahimsa philosophy "not to hurt any living thing". This led to Gandhi's promotion of cotton spinning machines.

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Hema 7 years ago

I rephrased my previous comment.
Welcome to Project Noah. Thank you for this educational spotting. Hope fully you will learn as much from us as we learn from you!!
Wishing you an enjoyable PN experience.

an_aikido 7 years ago

Thank you all for sharing your precious views. Looking forward to learn from you guys!

Hema 7 years ago

Can totally do without the silks!!
I have been to a silk worm factory,as a child. Was never told that the cocoons are boiled.
But the day i found out, I have stopped.

an_aikido 7 years ago

I totally endorse your views Hemma. I also came to this realization when I knew about the whole process & felt for the poor worms! But it is a vicious circle of life though!

an_aikido 7 years ago

Thanks a ton Karen! Oh, yeah they gotta belong to Anthropods, thanks again for doing that for me :)

Hema 7 years ago

For that reason, I have discontinued silk fabrics and sarees.

KarenL 7 years ago

Very interesting. Silkworm have been farmed for over 5000 years, & it takes an average of 2500-3000 cocoons to make one yard of silk fabric. The cocoons are boiled to kill the pupae inside so that they do not ruin the fibers when they eclose. I've moved this to arthropods for you.
Welcome to the community an_aikido

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Spotted on Jul 1, 2009
Submitted on Mar 20, 2013

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