Bloody Silk Road

10 billion chrysalis are killed, boiled alive, before change into butterflies.
Necessary for the annual global production of 70 million pounds of raw silk.*
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3.000 animals are boiled alive for 1 pound (450 gr) of row silk, necessary to produce just one dress.
17.500.000 animals killed by the Italian production of 3.5 tons. One of the smaller.
Bilion killed by the chinese production. The bigger.
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*`{`Via FAO, Food And Agriculture Organization of United Nations `}`

A Long Tradition

Silk was first developed in ancient China.
The earliest example of silk has been found in tombs at the neolithic site Jiahu in Henan, and dates back 8,500 years.
Originally reserved for the Emperors of China for their own use and gifts to others, but spread gradually through Chinese culture and trade both geographically and socially, and then to many regions of Asia. Because of its texture and lustre, silk rapidly became a popular luxury fabric in the many areas accessible to Chinese merchants.

A Cruel Tradition

Commercial silks originate from reared silkworm pupae, which are bred to produce a white-colored silk thread with no mineral on the surface.
The pupae are killed by either dipping them in boiling water before the adult moths emerge or by piercing them with a needle. To unravel the thread as one single strand, the cocoon must be harvested before the pupa matures and emerges as a moth.
If the moth naturally emerges from the cocoon, it cuts the filament, just as you might take a pair of scissors and cut up a ball of yarn.

 


 

STIFLING

To prevent this, the pupae are killed by a process euphemistically called ``stifling``.
This is generally done by boiling, steaming or baking. If water or steam is used, the cocoon must be worked immediately; otherwise, the pupae inside will putrify during storage and contaminate the filament. If baked and dried, the cocoons can be stored for later use.

 

Acid Treatment

DEMINERALIZING

Wild silks also tend to be more difficult to dye than silk from the cultivated silkworm.
Demineralizing has the potential to be used in the silk sector enabling wet reeling of Wild Silk moth cocoons by removing the mineral layer present in these cocoons.
This technique is not like degumming where the gum of the fibroin fibres is removed what would lead to a tangled cocoon.
With ``demineralizing`` the gum and structure of the cocoon is kept intact enabling the cocoons to be wet reeled.
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An aqueous 1M solution of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) is used adjusted to pH 10 with saturated sodium hydroxide solution.
The cocoons are immersed in this solution for 72 h and stirred.
During the process, the cocoons are kept under the surface of the solution by means of a plastic mesh,
using a partial vacuum to encourage penetration of the solution.