Are you honestly going to push me so far that I’m going to have to start Arachnid International or Amenesty Arachnid?
Because I will.
I’ll do it.
It’s not even that I’m all that fond of spiders. I would NEVER (and they say ‘never say never’, but in this case, feel free to go right ahead and say never, ever, ever, ever, EVER) own a tarantula as a pet or snuggle with one or let it walk around on me. Hell, I don’t even like to see them in the wild.
But I figure live and let live. It’s only fair.
However, I don’t only draw the line at this, it really pisses me off:
One Million Spiders Make Golden Silk for Rare Cloth
A rare textile made from the silk of more than a million wild spiders goes on display today at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. To produce this unique golden cloth, 70 people spent four years collecting golden orb spiders from telephone poles in Madagascar, while another dozen workers carefully extracted about 80 feet of silk filament from each of the arachnids. The resulting 11-foot by 4-foot textile is the only large piece of cloth made from natural spider silk existing in the world today.
Well, zippity f*cking doo dah. A scarf made through forced spider labor. I’m so impressed.
By the end of the project, Godley and Peers extracted silk from more than 1 million female golden orb spiders, which are abundant throughout Madagascar and known for the rich golden color of their silk. Because the spiders only produce silk during the rainy season, workers collected all the spiders between October and June.
Then an additional 12 people used hand-powered machines to extract the silk and weave it into 96-filament thread. Once the spiders had been milked, they were released into back into the wild, where Godley said it takes them about a week to regenerate their silk. “We can go back and re-silk the same spiders,” he said. “It’s like the gift that never stops giving.”
Is it now?
“The gift that never stops giving?”
Let’s stop and talk about this “gift” for a moment, shall we?
“The spiders were imprisoned in match boxes and by slightly compressing the abdomen he managed to extract and wind upon a little reel turned by hand it thread that sometimes attained a length of 500 yards. This is done by means of a curious little machine in which the spiders are imprisoned by the throat while undergoing the operation.
“It should be said that the female halabe allows herself to be relieved of her silken store with exemplary docility and this in spite of the fact that she is distinguished for her ferocity; her usual treatment of the males who pay her court is to eat them and she feasts without compunction on members of her own sex weaker than herself. The apparatus consists of a sort of stocks arranged to pin down on their backs a dozen spiders. The spiders accept this imprisonment with resignation and lie perfectly quiet while the silken thread issuing from their bodies is rapidly wound on to a reel by means of a cleverly devised machine worked by hand.”
I find the arrogance of this little art project rather appalling.
Imagine the scene: A being 500 times your own size has captured you and a million of your brethren. You are being held by the neck and something else is pinning you down across your entire back as they extract, I don’t know, a couple pints of blood? Your tears? Maybe they just push on your bladder until you pee? Whatever. Pick the bodily emission that works for you.
At any rate, changing places in this delightful little scenario, I would imagine you’d take it with ‘exemplary docility’ too.
I imagine I would…if only in the hopes of living through the experience.
Now I’m not trying to say that spiders have frontal lobes or are the same as us, but I do think that this is some seriously unnecessary bullshit.
It’s not even like this stupid cloth thing matters.
If they were saving lives with the spider goo, I would probably be okay with the whole (self-serving) scenario…but they’re NOT.
And this is why – in an admittedly large leap of thought because that’s how my brain works – I think our species is writing its own ticket to Goodbyesville. The audacity with which we treat – well, EVERYTHING – like we are superior to it and own it and can do whatever the heck we freaking want really wears me out. And it’s this never-ending cavalcade of bad behavior – dog fights, whale hunting, killing elephants for their ivory tusks, inhumane poultry and beef production practices, mowing down manatees because they’re in the way of your speedboat, polar bear skin rugs, etc. etc. etc. etc. – that makes me almost as upset as it makes me sad.
And there you have it.
This spider milking operation is just another brick in the wall of my annoyance with the human race.
Oh, and for the record, if I see any spider milk cheese or other spider milk products in the dairy section of my grocery store, I am seriously going to hurl.