Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Robbing Spiders of Their Webs

Ok, admittedly, this title is a bit harsh. I just saw this article about how 2 rich men got workers to capture golden orb spiders (almost the size of your hand!) from bamboo forests in Madagascar so that they could harvest their silk webs for a little art experiment, if you will. Now I'm all for experimenting with art, but when it costs half a million dollars and you end up with one (albeit beautiful) textile, is it really worth it? Think about the spiders (I'm not a spider-lover, but I respect their independence :] )

They say that they kept track of how long they kept the spiders and released them after they took all the gossamer thread they could create that day. My questions though are: Can the spiders create this much every day? Is it really ok if some of the spiders died in their captivity (which they did)? Is it necessary to plant that you can do this in people's heads?

The textile produced is gorgeous and certainly unique which I'm all for. I guess people sometimes eat these spiders too which is where my argument dies. I'm not a vegetarian and if presented with the opportunity to eat one of these spiders (as long as they're not endangered), I think I would (sorry veggies!). I do think though that if you kill something in order to eat it, then it's alright. Killing something in the process of your own endeavor and not using it for food is not alright in my book. Now I'm just chasing my own tail.
Here's the article, so you can see what you think: "Gossamer Silk, From Spiders Spun"
(photos from NY Times)


  1. I don't like to see creatures exploited in that way...These are wild, not domestic, and I feel should be left alone. I am not a vegetarian, we used to have our own meat birds, and while they were alive they were happy, well cared for, eating bugs and grass. When we killed them (hate the word "harvesting" for animals!) we respected them and it was quick. So, I don't know that the artistic endeavor was worth the life of a wild creature especially as an experiment and not as a necessity. Though some would call me a hypocrite because we don't "have" to eat meat...I'm still thinking about this! Thanks for some brain work! xo Cait

    P.S. I don't like circuses either!

  2. Cait-- I like your circuses're right. That's definitely exploitation. I do enjoy the strange eccentricities of them but not when it comes to animals (or humans for that matter).

    I struggled with the idea (with the spiders) after I started writing about it because I see no harm in eating meat, but taking a "resource" that the animal needs to survive is another thing...