The assault lasted from 1979 to 1984
Here’s one of the strangest stories you’ve never heard: chicken heads rained down on the Swiss countryside from 1979 to 1984. Why? The government was desperate to stop an epidemic of rabies carried by red foxes. Infected with a weak strain of the virus, the vaccine-infused chicken heads proved irresistible.
The Atlantic reports:
“In 17 October, 1978, Steck deployed the baits in a real field trial—the first of its kind. At the time, the rabies epidemic was spreading along the east shore of Lake Geneva, so Steck’s team created a grisly firebreak of 4,050 chicken heads. The heads also contained a chemical marker—tetracycline—that could later be found in the teeth and bones of foxes that were shot by hunters. When it became clear that the foxes were actually taking the bait, the initiative garnered more interest, money, and effort. The team dispersed more baited heads, mostly by flinging them onto roadsides and paths. For more remote areas, they used helicopters.”