New Policy on Maintenance of Guillotines and Shears

August 29, 2017

Checklist and reminder iconEnsuring that laboratory equipment is in good working order is not only critical to the integrity of our research, but also to maintaining the highest animal welfare standards at all times, and in all circumstances.

To afford animals a humane method of euthanasia, all laboratories using blades for euthanasia via decapitation must adhere to the requirements for equipment servicing and maintenance as outlined in the newly approved Policy on Maintenance of Guillotines and Shears.

Specifically, Principal Investigators must:

  • Have their guillotines/shears sharpened at least annually, or more frequently, as needed based on use
  • Establish and maintain a Service Log to document that the service was conducted
  • Clearly mark any blade being kept in an animal space but not currently being used on live animals as ‘Not for Live Animal Use; Blades Must Be Sharpened Prior to Use’

It is also 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.

Sharpening Services

Laboratories needing their blades sharpened can drop them off outside of the Medical School Facilities Shop (Room 2659 in Med Sci II). The individual dropping off the blades should complete the Sharpening Services Request Form located on the shelf outside of the shop.

The designated laboratory contact will be notified once sharpening is complete. Typical turnaround time for sharpening services is 1-2 business days.


Questions or concerns about this policy should be directed to your Research Compliance Associate in the Animal Care & Use Office.