Today's was the most disappointing headline yet: Let's milk the squid, not murder it!
At first I thought it was going to be a delightful biological joke, like milking whales in the fjords. It would have to be even more creative, because whales do legitimately have milk. What useful substance can you extract from a squid (besides calamari)?
Of course, as I imagined the fabulous joke article that never was, the answer came immediately: ink! Squid ink is incredibly dark, incredibly dense stuff, with the consistency of paste. They need only release a smidgeon to create large pseudomorphs and smokescreens. The yield from milking just a few squid a day would be tremendous--you could dilute the raw stuff ten or a hundred-fold and still sell a nice dark ink. Isn't it a beautiful picture: the peaceful marine farm, the squid circling slowly around their corral, lining up every evening to be milked for ink?
Historically, though, I don't believe squid ink has ever been used as a pigment. It was the cuttlefish, instead, who gave their generic name, Sepia, and their lives, to the dark brown pigment still used in writing and art. No one ever tried to milk the cuttlefish, I suspect, as it would have been simpler to extract the entire ink sacs from dead animals. And these days it's even simpler to manufacture sepia ink from scratch.
But perhaps today, with strong movements supporting both natural products and animal rights, it may be time to consider the prospect of a human cuttlefish ink farm?