Operation Vegetarian

This was a British unrealised military plan to disseminate linseed cakes infected with anthrax spores into the agricultural areas of Germany (1942).

The intention was that the cattle which ate the cakes would become infected with anthrax, which would thus be passed to the very large number of Germans who then ate the meat. The British believed that if implemented the plan would also have led to the deaths of most of Germany’s cattle, thereby reducing the quantity of meat available for the surviving population.

The infected cakes were tested on Gruinard island just off the north-west coast of Scotland, which remained closed to visits until 1990. The five million cakes made for dissemination in Germany were eventually destroyed by high-temperature incineration shortly after the end of World War II.