When you think about animals used for clothing your mind probably goes to leather, wool, down or fur. You wouldn’t be the first to overlook silk. There are a few reasons for this. Many people don’t know how silk is produced, or that it’s made through very cruel means. Silk worms are also overlooked because… “they’re just worms”. (Note: silk worms are in fact much more like a caterpillar than a worm).
Silk fabric is made from the silk that is spun by silkworms when they form the cocoons for their pupal stage, before becoming a moth. While they are still in their pupal stage, the cocoons are placed in boiling water, which kills the silkworms, and also makes the cocoons easy to unravel without breaking the thread. If allowed to develop and live, the silkworms would turn into moths and chew their way out of the cocoons to escape. The chewed silk strands would be much shorter and less valuable than the whole cocoons.
Believe it or not, silk moths are sentient as well. They have a neurological system and being boiled is a painful death. Tens of millions of silk moths are boiled alive every year on silk farms, it takes 6600 cocoons to make 1 kilo of silk.