Operation Fragrant Cow

Back in the 60s, the U.S. Army employed scientists to sneak into Omaha stockyards and spray cows with deodorant. The logic behind this was to test how easy it would be for Soviet agents to spread hoof-and-mouth disease among American cows.

Unfortunately, I can't find any more info about this operation, which is a shame because it raises so many questions. For instance, the important part of the operation must have been to see how easily they could gain access to the stockyards. So then, why bother to deodorize the cows? Was it just to add a touch of realism? Why not spray them with paint so that they could later count the "infected" ones?

Southern Illinoisan - Aug 5, 1994

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 09, 2017
     Category: Military | Science | Cows | 1960s

Using deodorant was a stroke of genius! I wonder if it was accidental. I mean, did they draw up a list of the seventy-nine most important necessary characteristics and begin searching, or did the guy in charge just happen to have a can in his desk when they needed something?

Why didn't they use spray paint? Probably because this was supposed to be covert on two levels -- first, they wanted to see if a foreign substance could be used without anyone noticing; second, they didn't want anyone knowing what they were doing. Someone, even in Omaha, would notice painted heifers, and they'd start asking why.
Posted by Phideaux on 04/09/17 at 09:45 AM
Maybe they knew of the "death by deoderant" phenomon and doubled the benefits of the test by finding out how much resistance cows have to the nefarious spray toxins.
Posted by Virtual on 04/09/17 at 10:44 AM
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