Policy on Maintenance of Guillotines and Shears

Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee
Jul 24, 2017 2:30 pm

Blades used for euthanasia via decapitation must be kept in working order and serviced regularly in order to afford animals a humane method of euthanasia.

  • Background

    Blades used for euthanasia via decapitation, such as guillotines or shears, must be kept in working order, free of rust, visible nicks or other damage to the cutting edge, with no perceptible binding or resistance and serviced regularly in order to afford animals a humane method of euthanasia in accordance with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia.

  • Policy

    Principal Investigators (PIs) must have their guillotines and other similar equipment sharpened or replaced at least annually or more frequently as needed based on use. In addition, PIs are required to establish and maintain a service log to document that the service was conducted.

    • If a blade is being kept in an animal space but not currently being used on live animals, it should be clearly marked that the blade is ‘not for live animal use; blades must be sharpened prior to live animal use.’
    • It is recommended that blades be tested for sharpness on suitable materials (e.g. polyethylene tubing 5/16th” ODx3/16th”) before use. A sharp blade will cut the test material cleanly with minimal force without dragging it between the blades or showing signs of sticking.

    During IACUC semiannual and other regulatory inspections, logs may be inspected and blade sharpness validated.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Animal Care & Use Office at acuoffice@umich.edu or (734) 763-8028.