“Mass-produced silk is made from domesticated silkworms, Bombyx mori, raised on farms. The silk is secreted as a liquid from two glands in the caterpillar’s head. While they are still in their pupal stage, the cocoons are placed in boiling water, which kills the silkworms and begins the process of unraveling the cocoons to produce silk thread … Approximately 15 silkworms are killed to make a gram of silk thread, and 10,000 are killed to make a silk sari.”
“India is the second largest silk producer, after China. According to Indian Government statistics, only 21,000 tonnes of silk are produced in the country as against a demand of 30,000 tonnes per year. Prominent Indian fashion designer Anupama Dayal says, “Since the demand of silk is huge, production has to be done in a traditional way, even if it is cruel to silkworms. Otherwise, we would never be able to meet the demand of this fabric.” ”
Alternatives are‘Eri silk’ – also called the ‘Peace silk’ or ‘Ahimsa silk’. This silk has been harvested after the moths have left the cocoons. Because the silkworm makes a hole in the cocoon in order to emerge, the strand is no longer unbroken, resulting in shorter fibers, so the silk is spun rather than reeled. There is often a cream or light brown coloration to peace silk as well.