Policy on Maintenance of Guillotines, Scissors and Shears

Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee
Jul 20, 2020 12:00 am

To describe the expectations for the care and maintenance of guillotines, scissors, and shears used for live animals in research, teaching or testing. Specifically, this policy addresses the institutional expectations related to the requirement that “equipment used to perform decapitation must be maintained in good working order and serviced on a regular basis to ensure sharpness of blades1”.

1 The AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition (PDF available at: https://www.avma.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/2020-Euthanasia-Final-1-17-20.pdf)

  • Applicability

    This policy is applicable to all vertebrate animal activities conducted under the auspices of the University, and applies to all campus locations, including Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn.

  • Glossary Definitions


    Term used to describe ending the life of an individual animal in a way that minimizes or eliminates pain and distress.

  • Policy

    Principal Investigators (PIs) are required to maintain blades (e.g., guillotines, scissors, or shears), used for euthanasia via decapitation, in good working order to ensure a humane method of euthanasia in accordance with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia.

    PIs must have blades sharpened or replaced at least annually or more frequently as needed, based on use and condition, to ensure the following criteria are consistently met:

    1. Blades must be free of rust, visible nicks, or other damage to the cutting edge and have no perceptible binding or resistance, and
    2. Blades must always be able to decapitate with minimal force.

    If the above criteria is not met, blades must not be used until serviced or replaced, and confirmed to be in good working order.

    PIs are required to establish a mechanism (e.g., a service log or “date of last service” tag) to document that the service/replacement was conducted. Blades not in current use must be clearly marked.

  • Compliance

    The provisions of this policy are under the direction and oversight of the U-M’s IACUC. The IACUC will, if necessary, suspend research or implement sanctions if policy infractions should occur.

  • Appendix A: Sharpening Services Request Form


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Research, Director of the Animal Care and Use Office at acuoffice@umich.edu or (734) 763-8028.