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The Most Dangerous Research by British Scientists: Operation “Vegetarian”

In recent years, British scientists have become the subject of memes, jokes, and anecdotes due to their inexplicable passion for useless yet costly research. It turns out that peculiar ideas have occurred to the bright minds of British scientists before, and there are known cases where experiments were not only unusual but also dangerous.

Today, it is not exactly known which of the scientists in good old England came up with the idea of using biological weapons during World War II. The operation, named “Vegetarian,” was aimed not at the destruction of enemy forces but at creating morale among domestic animals in Germany and the Reich’s allied countries.

The English planned to infect the enemy’s livestock with anthrax directly on their pastures to initiate an epidemic and the associated famine.

Secret scientific centers in the Kingdom calculated that the operation could easily kill off nearly all German cattle, sheep, and horses, and, if lucky, a significant portion of the pig population.

Up to 60% of large and small domestic livestock would fall, and the meat of the survivors would become unsuitable for consumption. Thus, British scientists planned to deliver a crushing blow to the Reich, causing its soldiers to surrender immediately due to the absence of their beloved German sausages and stews.

The plan was good and quite feasible, but not wanting to rely on chance, the English decided to test its effectiveness on a test site. A small island off the harsh Scottish coast was chosen for the dangerous experiment, and in the summer of 1942, 60 doomed sheep were transported there. A deadly strain was dispersed over the flock from the air, and they awaited the effect.

Predictably, all the sheep died within a few weeks, proving another triumph of British scientific thought. The experiment was concluded, all participants received commendations, and only the formal matter of destroying the dangerous biological material—namely, the carcasses of the deceased animals—remained.

It would seem that there is nothing simpler than the standard procedure for disposing of biological material infected with a dangerous strain. Throughout history, animal carcasses were burned, and the ashes stored in an isolated location. But the British military involved in the experiment, together with the scientific geniuses, decided to approach the matter creatively and simply blew up the carcasses.

Today, reconstructing the chain of events is quite challenging, but it is evident that during the not-so-careful disposal process, pieces of meat ended up in the sea, which washed them onto a neighboring, inhabited island. On the shore, the infected material was picked up by some animal, possibly a dog or a cat, carrying the deadly disease into the only village on the island.

Naturally, the islanders soon experienced a mass die-off of livestock. The military department deserves credit for responding quickly to the peasants’ complaints. All the livestock on the island was seized and destroyed, and its owners received full compensation from the government for their lost animals and additional payment for their silence. Thorough disinfection of the island was also carried out.

By the way, the island was quarantined and monitored by epidemiologists for over 40 years. Only in 1986, after disposing of the topsoil and treating the entire island with formaldehyde, did cautious Britons reintroduce animals to the island, which, fortunately, survived.

And what about Operation “Vegetarian”? Fortunately, the bacteriological attack that could have brought the Reich to its knees and caused a grand epidemic of anthrax across Europe never took place. In 1943, German troops lost the Battle of Stalingrad, leading to a turning point on all fronts.

It became clear that the surrender of Germany was only a matter of time, and the English decided to abandon their nefarious plan. The 50,000 infected flax “patties” intended for dispersal from bombers over German pastures were destroyed to prevent any mishaps, and the silence of all those involved in preparing the foolishly grand operation was incentivized with bonuses and state awards.

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