The British Army in World War II requisitioned a Scottish island, Gruinard Island, and deliberately contaminated it with anthrax as part of an experiment into biological warfare. Eighty sheep were taken to the island and an anthrax bomb was detonated above it, killing all of the sheep in the process. The island remained contaminated with anthrax, and so completely uninhabitable, for decades afterwards.

In the 1980s, a shadowy group called the Dark Harvest Commando of the Scottish Citizen Army campaigned for the decontamination of the island. In 1981 they apparently landed on the island, gathered anthrax-contaminated soil, and sent it to the Chemical Defence Establishment at Porton Down and to the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool, threatening to release more anthrax around the UK if the island wasn’t cleaned up.

Finally, in 1986, the decontamination process began. One of the scientists who worked on the cleanup was Dr. David Kelly, who would later play an infamous and tragic role in the build-up to the Iraq war. The decontamination was tested by sending a flock of sheep to the island, none of which died. Following the decontamination, the island was sold back to its original owners for £500.