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Is silk vegan? Are there other fabrics
besides leather and wool that aren't vegan?
Silk is not vegan. It is a viscous protein
substance secreted from the glands of silkworms which
hardens into silk on contact with air. This soft, lustrous
fiber is obtained from the cocoon of the silkworm. In
order to retain a single, unbroken filament, the silkworm
is killed before it can emerge from the cocoon and break
the thread. Slaughtering silkworms for their silk is
done by boiling, baking, or steaming the live worm directly
in its cocoon. When the worm is in this chrysalis stage
it is not dead; it is transforming. Therefore, we must
believe on faith that its sentience remains intact.
To assume otherwise would be unconscionable.
Selective breeding over many generations
has expunged the moth's ability to fly. Certain chrysalis
are kept aside to allow the moths to emerge and mate.
After the female lays her eggs, she is crushed and inspected
for diseases. If she appears diseased, her eggs are
immediately destroyed. After mating, the males are dumped
into a basket and discarded as refuse. According to
research conducted by Beauty Without Cruelty, India,
approximately fifteen hundred chrysalis are killed to
produce one hundred grams of pure silk.
Depending on the weave, style, design,
or place where it is woven, silk may be called different
names in the marketplace. Some common euphemisms for
certain types of woven silk are pure chiffon, pure georgette,
organza, pure crepe, pure satin, and raw silk. When
buying clothing (including the lining and trim), ties,
handkerchiefs, handbags, hats, ribbons, curtains, upholstered
furniture, embroidered items, and typewriter/printer
ribbons, check the label for fabric content. Chiffon,
georgette, crepe, and satin may also be made of synthetic
The skin, fleece, feathers, shells,
hair, or body parts of any animal, bird, fish, or insect
are not considered vegan. This includes fur, down, camel's
hair, mohair, angora, tortoiseshell, snakeskin, ivory,
bone, pearls, and so forth. The list of animals and
their body parts used for human garments and accessories
is extensive. When shopping, just use your common sense,
and don't purchase something if you don't know its origin;
hold off until you can investigate it further. There
are many vegan alternatives for practically all of these
animal-based commodities, for example faux pearls, rayon
instead of silk, synthetic fiberfill instead of down,
polar fleece instead of wool, and taugua nut instead
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