April 5, 2004

There'll Always Be An England, Maybe


A claim that Britain considered using live chickens in a nuclear weapon aroused skepticism Thursday, but officials insisted it was not an April Fool's hoax.

"It's a genuine story," said Robert Smith, head of press and publicity at The National Archives. The archives released a secret 1957 Ministry of Defence report showing that scientists contemplated putting chickens in the casing of a plutonium landmine.

The chickens' body heat was considered a possible means of preventing the mine's mechanism from freezing.

Listing ways of extending the armed life of the landmine, the declassified document proposed "incorporating some form of heating independent of power supplies under the weapon hull in the emplacement. Chickens, with a heat output of the order of 1,000 BTU (British Thermal Units) per bird per day are a possibility."

If you've ever lived in England, you'll know they're serious when they tell you stuff like this isn't a joke.

In fact, the PDF version of an article on the Blue Peacock Landmine that these chickens were to be used in is located, here on American Digest.

Posted by Vanderleun at April 5, 2004 6:03 PM | TrackBack
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