1979: Why Did Vets Bomb Switzerland With Rabies-Infected Chicken Heads?

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.”

Written by: Julia Mason // // Feature image via Wikimedia

Fast Food

Guy Buys A McDonald’s Burger And Fries Six Years Ago And It Looks EXACTLY The Same Today


In 2009, Switzerland was set to close its McDonald’s franchise because of the economic crash. Hjörtur Smárason, an anthropologist, was one of the very last customers to order burgers and fries from the McDonald’s. Six years later, those burger and fries are still holding up pretty nicely.

Three years into saving his burger and fries, Smárason noticed that his meal had not shown any signs of going bad. There was no odor, mold, or any visible signs of decay coming from the fast food combo.

Smárason kept the combo in storage for a total of 2,190 days, or six years. Aside from looking a little dry, what’s deemed “The Last McDonald’s Cheeseburger sold in Iceland” remains unchanged.

Other than a few occasional photo op trips, the burger and fries is currently on display at a hostel where folks can come and watch the meal not age.

McDonald’s has since commented on the phenomenon saying that foods need certain conditions to decompose. If the burger and fries were stored in an environment without any moisture, decomposition is pretty unlikely to happen. Mold and bacteria would be unable to grow, either.

The fast food brand compared the burger and fries to dehydrated food which could last for years.

Not sure how great that beef patty is, but the burger bun and fries look pretty tasty at first glance. It’s gotta be rock-hard by now, but still.

Photo: Reykjavik Bus Hostel


This Zoo Lets You Eat the Animals on Display


Langau am Albis, a zoo south of Zurich, is known for serving game meat at their exhibits. While one’s initial thought would be that the act is appalling, especially with such exotic creatures, it’s quite the opposite. The zoo serves game meat at restaurants and park grounds as a means to control the animal population.

No, they’re not cooking up anything endangered like rhinos, elephants or tigers. Rather, animals like deer and boar are the most common meats shot, the cooked for the zoo’s dining facilities. Since so many animals are born each year to the zoo, if new homes are can’t be found, they are killed for human consumption.

Martin Kilchenmann, a spokesman for the zoo, according to Fox News, says that the process of killing and cooling the animals is actually ecological. It also teaches the park visitors about the “natural cycle” of the animal kingdom.

Some of the dishes include “Braised Roast Wild Boar with Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables” and “Venison in Cognac Sauce.”

H/T Fox News



Fast Food

McDonalds Switzerland Signature Line Includes $12 Burger


Yet again we’re left in the dust while McDonalds debuts some epic menu items everywhere else but here in the U.S. The latest menu we have to be jealous over is the premium Signature Line which is being served all the way in Switzerland.

The Signature Line’s burger is called “The Prime” and runs 10.90 Swiss francs, which translates to a little over $12 USD. The burger, developed with celebrity Swiss chef Rene Schudel, features a 6.3oz  Swiss beef patty, rustic mountain cheese (whatever that means), coleslaw, arugula, and of course a special sauce.

Other items available as part of the Signature Line include “The Chips” which are described as thick potato chips, medallion-cut fries, potato salad, coleslaw, Caesar salad, and couscous salad.

Though no plans have been announced to bring the Signature Line to the U.S., we’re hoping that one day McDonalds will deem us worthy for more premium items like the Bacon Clubhouse.

H/T + PicThx Brand Eating 


IKEA’s ‘No Empty Chairs at Christmas’ Campaign Helps You Share Holiday Cheer with Strangers


No one should have to spend Christmas alone. Luckily Ikea Switzerland agrees.

This year, the Switzerland branch of the popular furniture company launched a campaign called “No Empty Chairs at Christmas,” which allowed people to open their homes to strangers if they were spending Christmas alone or happened to have extra space at their Christmas tables. A Christmas hosting service, if you will.

Guests and hosts get matched up based on short personal profiles, and the rest of the arrangement is completely up to them, from who will ask the awkward relationship questions, to who might pass out on the couch after one too many eggnogs.

Assuming all goes well, it’s a simple, cute way to get into the spirit of the season. Let’s not think about what might happen otherwise.

H/T + Picthx Design Taxi


Double-Decker Train Gets Converted into the First Mobile Starbucks


Starbucks partnered with Swiss Train Company SSB to convert a double-decker train into the first mobile coffee store on a train. The sleek car runs from Geneva Airport to St. Gallen, and is exclusively in Switzerland, for now.


The car is designed to be cozy, with a bar area on the floor and a comfortable seating area on the upper deck for commuters with further to go.  It’s furnished with a carpeted floor, textured wood tables, and leather chairs.  There’s even a coffee waiter to deliver your orders to you on the upper deck, meaning no wobbly walks up and down the train with potentially scalding liquid. Well played Starbucks, well played. Looks like Amtrack will have to step its game up.


H/T + PicThx Fast Company


‘Bike-In’ Coffee Shops are So Portlandia


“SO PORTLANDIA” is how one commenter describes these “bike-in” park stands, and she is SO RIGHT.

Except for the part about these hipster havens being in Portland, because apparently, Switzerland has outdone Oregon this time.

They’re called Velokafi, and they’re part of a combined effort by Zurich government officials and designers to accomodate a growing number of cyclists in the area, ultimately building toward the local “Stadtverkehr 2025 Program,” which “aims to improve transportation infrastructure, for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”  The Velokafi (dunno what that means, but you can bet “coffee” is part of it) are set up at parks and designed for bikers who are, like, too busy/pretentious to get off their bikes like the rest of us plebs.

Swiss hipsters (or “Swissters”) can find the Portlandia exports, comprised of a desktop + a wooden docking station to hold the bike, at the Rathaus Café, which also provides a free cup of coffee to anyone who uses the Velokafi.

Well, if nothing else, Swissters, do it for the coffee. It is a sacrifice worthy of the discomfort of not sitting in a real chair. Probably.

H/T + PicThx Design Taxi